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Published by Penka® on July 24, 2020

What is Agave?

At Penka we are proud to work with agave, although we must clarify that when we say "Agave" we are referring to a genus of plants native to the American continent, generally succulents that today are distributed all over the world. There are approximately 220 species in this genus, and Mexico is the center of origin for more of 75% of them.

Agaves are plants that are adapted to areas of low rainfall and prolonged droughts and can develop in semi-deserts regions, with species that evolved from the coast to the high mountain.

Agaves are made up of a central storage stalk known as a pineapple, and the leaves that surround it called stalks - hence the name we choose -, and underground stems from which they take the nutrients. At the end of its productive life, it produces a quiote with its flowers and fruits. -de ahí el nombre que elegimos-, y tallos subterráneos de donde toman los nutrientes. Al final de su vida productiva echa un quiote con sus flores y frutos.

In pre-Hispanic times, agaves were used for food, clothing, and housing, where our ancestors took advantage of the entire plant: the fiber from the leaves for ropes and fabrics, and the dried leaves as construction materials. The fermented sugars gave rise to pulque, a low alcoholic beverage.

After the conquest, agaves were cultivated in different regions of Mexico and their production became specialized according to their use. For example, in Yucatán henequen was cultivated for the manufacture of ropes and in Hidalgo and the center of the country its use was focused on the manufacture of pulque and alembic-distilled mezcal using local species.

In the area of Tequila, Jalisco a particular variety was found with high sugar content, a short life cycle and high production of tillers for propagation, characteristics that, together with the ease of grinding the cooked fibers and extracting the sugars, are excellent to produce distillates. This variety is distinguished by the bluish color of its leaves or stalks and is known as blue agave. Its botanical name is Agave tequilana Weber, Blue variety. Agave tequilana Weber, Variedad azul.

For years the waste from the tequila industry (what remains of the pineapple after processing and extraction of sugars) had not been of much use, only for feeding the cattle and fertilizer, but recently there has been a diversification from its applications, searching for a use to the bagasse from agave to use and take advantage of the biomass in the fabrication of building blocks, paper, handcrafts and what becomes our passion: biomaterials.

At Penka we give life to cellulose fibers from agave bagasse to make biomaterials with countless applications, as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastic materials, among these applications is our line of straws, stirrers, and other products that we invite you to learn more about at www.penka.eco 

By: Jose Ignacio del Real/ Eduardo Rivera

Article published by Penka®

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Made from agave bagasse
100% recyclable

Food-Grade, BPA free

Designed and manufactured in Mexico

Reduce CO2 emissions

Reduces oil consumption

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