Star Anise

Chempakam, B and Balaji, S (2008) Star Anise. In: Chemistry of Spices. CABI, UK, pp. 319-330. ISBN 978-1845934057

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Star anise (Illicium verum Hook) is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavour, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp. It is native to southern China and northern Vietnam and is grown almost exclusively in southern China, Indochina and Japan. The spice was first introduced into Europe in the 17th century. The oil, produced by a process of steam distillation, is substituted for European aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.) in commercial drinks (Morton, 2004). The fruit is star-shaped and consists of 8–13 carpels joined centrally and is a well-known spice used in Vietnamese cuisine (Loi and Thu, 1970). It is so named from the stellate form of its fruit. The essential oil of star anise fruits is used in the confectionary trade to flavour liquorice and other candies and in the baking trade to flavour cakes, cookies and biscuits. It has a volatile oil content of 2.5–3.5% in the fresh fruit and 8–9% in the dried material. The fixed oil content is about 20% (Heath, 1981). This small tree, belonging to the family Iliciaceae which grows in the evergreen forests of southern China and the mountainous regions of Indochina, is cultivated in the Vietnamese province of Lang Son and in the mountainous regions of Eastern Laos. Japanese star anise (I. anisatum), a similar tree, is not edible because it is highly toxic. Cases of illness, including serious neurological effects such as seizures, which are reported after using star anise tea, may be the result of using this species (Biessels et al., 2002). It is similar to I. verum, but its fruit is smaller and with a weaker odour, which is said to be more similar to cardamom than to anise. While it is poisonous, and therefore unsuitable for internal use, the Chinese use the fruits to treat some skin problems (Lai et al., 1997). Vietnam produces more than 2000 t of star anise seeds per annum. About 1600 tof seeds are exported to Cuba, China and the Soviet Union. In addition, 200–250t of essential oil are shipped to France and Czechoslovakia. In China, which is the largest supplier of star anise to the world market, Vietnamese star anise is blended and then exported to France. In France, it is used as a raw material in the production of alcoholic beverages (FAO, 1993).

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Copyright © CAB International 2008.
Subjects: Engineering > MIT Manipal > Biotechnology
Depositing User: MU Library
Date Deposited: 19 May 2011 07:00
Last Modified: 19 May 2011 07:01

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