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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Breeding Potato with High Antioxidant Values

Authors
item Brown, Charles
item Wrolstad, R - OREGON ST UNIV CORVALLIS
item Clevidence, Beverly

Submitted to: Proceedings Washington State Potato Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2001
Publication Date: September 5, 2001
Citation: BROWN, C.R., WROLSTAD, R., CLEVIDENCE, B.A. BREEDING POTATO WITH HIGH ANTIOXIDANT VALUES. PROCEEDINGS OF THE 40TH ANNUAL WASHINGTON STATE POTATO CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW, FEB 6-8. P 57-64. 2001.

Interpretive Summary: The potato that is well known to the American consumer usually has white flesh. However, within the natural genetic variation that exists in potato from the rest of the world, especially from the Andes of South America, there are many different pigments that impart color to the flesh. Among these are red and blue compounds called anthocyanins. They are completely natural and occur all over the plant kingdom providing color to flowers, leaves, fruits and tubers. The essential point of interest in this paper is that it is possible to breed very high levels of these compounds in potato flesh, and that they provide a high level of antioxidant activity. Antioxidants in the diet are associated with improved cardiovascular health, protection against certain types of cancer and retardation of macular degeneration. Other types of foods that supply high quantities of antioxidants are small berries and certain vegetables like spinach and kale. The potato is without a doubt the best vehicle for increasing antioxidant consumption in the American population considering its low cost and the fact that per capita consumption is 150 pounds per annum.

Technical Abstract: Within the natural variation of potato are types with high levels of anthocyanins. Red potatoes harbor acylated pelargonidin glycosides, while purple potatoes have this pigment and acylated petunidin glycosides. The amount of pigment in the flesh may range from 20 to over a 100 mg per 100 grams fresh weight. Pigmented potatoes require the concerted action of several genes in order for pigment to be uniformly distributed in the flesh at high concentrations. Breeding requires the development of appropriate parents in order to recover acceptable progenies. Processing trials have shown that highly appealing potato chips with excellent taste profiles can be produced as a snack. Using a low fat and lightly salted version can generate a snack with none of the health concerns associated with the high fat, salty chips of the past. Of considerable interest is the high level of antioxidant activity measured in some of these potatoes. Values as high as 25 millimolar Trolox units per gram fresh weight of red fleshed potato were found. This is 2 to 3 times higher than white fleshed potato and places potato in the vicinity of Brussels sprouts and kale, well-known high antioxidant vegetables that the American population consumes in very small amounts. Potatoes, one the other hand, could provide a large increase in the consumption of antioxidants as the consumption is 150 pounds per capita per annum.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014