Kaniwa and Amaranthus are introduced in this article. Kaniwa is an original food crop in the Central Andes area in South America. There are two types of species, which differ in their branching. The lasta type shows high branching, whereas the saguia type is characterized by less branching and a more erect growth. Kaniwa grows 20～60cm high and is therefore shorter than its close relative quinoa. Since kaniwa is well-adapted to the Andean climate, it is cold-resistant in all growth stages. Adult plants are also resistant to night frosts. In its vegetative stage, the plant may survive down to －10°C and will grow at temperatures up to 28°C with sufficient humidity. The brown or black grain is disc-shape with a diameter of 0.5 to 1.5mm and the weight of 1000-kernels is 1～1.5g.
Amaranthus is an original food crop in Mexico and in the Central Andes area in South America. It was cultivated in these areas starting approximately 6000 years ago. Because the plant has high crossability, it has spread to various places in the world and has generated new cultivars in many places. At present it comprises a family of about 70 species that were originally native to parts of South America, Africa, India and China. Amaranthus can grow up to a height of 0.5-3m depending on the species. The plants are bushy with thick stalks. Flowers are predominantly purple, red, orange or green. The blossoms can reach a length of up to 90 cm. They can grow upright or prostrate. The grain is disc-shaped with a diameter of 1 to 2mm and a 1000-kernel weight of 0.6～1g.
Amaranthus grain resembles Kaniwa grain very closely in its characteristics as a foodstuff. They both contain more protein, lipid and minerals, and lower carbohydrate than main cereals such as rice, wheat, and barley. Further, their content ratio of protein, lipid and carbohydrate provides excellent nutritive quality. Their proteins have a well-balanced amino acid composition, comparable to animal proteins, and they contain more lysine compared to vegetable proteins. Their lipids are richer in essential fatty acid compared to main cereals. Starch granules from Amaranthus are polygonal in shape with sizes ranging from 1 to 2 μm with an A-type X-ray diffraction pattern. The amylose content is in the range of 0-28%. Therefore, they have normal, low amylose, and waxy type starches. Amaranthus starch has slightly higher temperatures of gelatinization (To, Tp, Tf) and larger heat of gelatinization (ΔH), compared to Kaniwa starch which has a lower To, Tp, Tf and smaller ΔH in comparison to main cereals. The content of all minerals (K, Mg, Ca, P, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn) is higher than that in common cereals such as rice, wheat, barley, corn, common and foxtail millets. A P/Ca ratio of about 3 for Kaniwa and Amaranthus favorably exceeds ratios of 5～50 for common cereals.