Updated: Aug 23
Peanut tree has been grown in Vietnam for a long time, and is the first oil-producing tree in terms of area, output and export, making a large contribution to the total value of agricultural export turnover of our country every year. Peanut cultivation in Vietnam follows a set of techniques and farming practices to ensure optimal growth, yield, and quality of the crop.
Soil preparation and Seed selection: Before planting peanuts, farmers prepare the soil by plowing and tilling to loosen it and remove weeds. Well-drained soil with good fertility is preferred for peanut cultivation. Farmers carefully select high-quality peanut seeds for planting. These seeds should be disease-free, viable, and suitable for the local climate and growing conditions.
Planting: Peanut seeds are typically sown directly into the soil. Farmers make furrows or ridges in the prepared soil and place the seeds at appropriate intervals. The depth and spacing of planting depend on the variety of peanuts being cultivated. Besides, adequate water supply is crucial for peanut growth and development. Farmers in Vietnam use various irrigation methods, including sprinklers, drip irrigation, or traditional watering techniques, to ensure the plants receive sufficient moisture.
Fertilization and Pest and Disease Management
Peanut plants require proper nutrition for healthy growth and high yields. Farmers apply organic fertilizers or mineral fertilizers to provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
If peanut plants are subjected to severe drought during pod formation, or if pods are not properly stored, they may become contaminated with the mold Aspergillus flavus which may produce carcinogenic substances called aflatoxins (Source: Wikipedia).
Weed Control: Weed management is essential to prevent competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Farmers employ manual weeding or use herbicides carefully to control weeds without harming the peanut plants.
Harvesting: Harvest occurs in two stages.
In mechanized systems, a machine is used to cut off the main root of the peanut plant by cutting through the soil just below the level of the peanut shell. The machine lifts the "bush" off the ground, shakes it, and then turns it upside down, leaving the plant upside down so the peanuts don't come into contact with the soil. This allows the peanuts to dry slowly to less than a third of their original moisture content within three to four days. Traditionally, peanuts are pulled and inverted by hand.
After the peanuts have dried sufficiently, they are threshed, removing the peanut shells from the rest of the dust. Peanuts must be properly dried and stored in dry conditions. If they have too much moisture or if storage conditions are poor, they can become infected with the mold Aspergillus flavus. Many strains of these fungi release toxic and potentially carcinogenic substances called aflatoxins.
Versatile Uses of Peanuts in the Industry
Peanuts, besides being a popular snack and culinary ingredient, have numerous valuable applications in various industries. The versatility of peanuts allows them to be utilized in different industrial sectors.
Food Industry: Peanuts are extensively utilized in the food industry. They are used as ingredients in a wide range of products, including peanut butter, confectionery items, snack bars, baked goods, and savory snacks. Peanuts can add flavor, texture, and nutritional value to these food products.
Oil Production: Peanuts are rich in oil, making them a valuable source for oil extraction. Peanut oil is widely used in the food industry for cooking, frying, and salad dressings. It has a mild flavor, a high smoke point, and contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Animal Feed: Peanut meal, a byproduct of oil extraction, is used as a protein-rich feed ingredient for livestock and poultry. It provides essential amino acids and nutrients to support animal growth and development. Peanut meal is often incorporated into animal feed formulations to enhance their nutritional profile.
Cosmetics and Personal Care: Peanut oil finds applications in the cosmetics and personal care industry. It is used in various skincare products, such as lotions, creams, and soaps, due to its moisturizing and emollient properties. Peanut oil is also utilized in hair care products, including shampoos and conditioners.
Pharmaceuticals: Peanuts and peanut extracts have been explored for their potential health benefits and medicinal properties. Certain compounds found in peanuts, such as resveratrol and phytosterols, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research is ongoing to explore their potential applications in pharmaceutical formulations.
Biofuels: The oil extracted from peanuts can be converted into biodiesel, a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional diesel fuel. Peanut oil biodiesel has been studied as a potential source of renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Industrial Applications: Peanuts find utility in various industrial applications. Peanut shells can be used as a biomass fuel for energy generation. Additionally, peanut oil is utilized as a lubricant in machinery and as a component in the production of paints, varnishes, and coatings.
The diverse range of uses for peanuts in the industry highlights their economic value and widespread application across different sectors. The versatility and nutritional composition of peanuts make them a valuable resource for numerous industrial processes and products. It's important to note that while peanuts have various industrial uses, it's crucial to ensure proper processing and handling to maintain quality and safety standards. Adhering to food safety regulations and industry guidelines is essential to prevent any potential risks or allergenic reactions associated with peanuts.