In the Andean region of Ecuador, amaranth is a key species not only for its high nutritional value but also for its association with Ecuadorian culture, since it is one of the main indigenous crops of the pre-Columbian era. Over the time, the cultivation of this species ceased for several reasons result. However, in recent years, a number of strategies have been developed to retrieve it on a national level. In accordance with these strategies, the “Amaranth Improvement Program for Cotopaxi” (PROMAC) is being developed at the Technical University of Cotopaxi, with the main objective of selecting varieties with high levels of biologically active substances. This program is been executed through two main lines of investigation: (a) selection of varieties of amaranth of high nutritional value and (b) the improvement of techniques for conservation of the seeds. This chapter analyzes and shows the main results obtained to date from the study of eight varieties of amaranth seeds and the drying of one of the seeds by means of microwave energy in order to improve its conservation. In the light of the results obtained, the strategies to develop the following research lines within the PROMAC framework are exposed.
Part of the book: Nutritional Value of Amaranth