Variability of Phytonutrient Content of Potato in Relation to Growing Location and Cooking Method

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Abstract

Potato has a defined complement of metabolites that contribute to the human diet. Among these are the carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids are found in all potatoes in the flesh. White-fleshed varieties have 50 to 100 μg per 100 g fresh weight (FW), while moderately yellow-fleshed varieties will generally possess from 100 to 350 μg per 100 g FW. The more intensely yellow-fleshed genotypes, which may look orange, at the higher extremes are at levels above 1,000 μg per 100 g FW. The highest level published is 2,600 μg per 100 g FW in diploid germplasm derived from South American Papa Amarilla cultivars. Potato generally has predominantly lutein, a xanthophyll which is also found in the human retina, and must be obtained in the diet. The genotypes with extremely high levels of total carotenoids have zeaxanthin, an isomer of lutein, which is also present in the human retina. Anthocyanins are present in red- or purple-skinned and fleshed varieties. Total anthocyanins range from 1.5 mg to 48 mg per 100 g FW in a solidly pigmented purple-skinned, purple-fleshed breeding line. The degree of pigmentation in the flesh appears to be under polygenic control. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. The level of total anthocyanins is correlated with antioxidant level (r = 0.94, P < 0.001). Several methods of cooking interacted with genotypes in the antioxidant level remaining after cooking compared to raw potatoes. No method of cooking completely eliminated antioxidant activity, while boiling appeared to increase it compared to raw potato in the case of the most highly pigmented clone.

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