Submitted to: Proceedings Washington State Potato Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2004
Publication Date: November 15, 2004
Citation: Brown, C.R. 2004. Nutrient status of potato: assessment of future trends. Proceedings 43rd Washington State Potato Conference. p. 11-17. Technical Abstract: The potato is an underground stem and reflects the complex metabolism and metabolite accumulation that occurs in plant organs in general. Although composed of 80% water, the potato possesses phytonutrients that easily put it in the classification of vegetables in general. Potato possesses carotenoids in the flesh. These fall into the category of xanthophylls. Lutein and zexanthin are two major components of the potato carotenoid arsenal. These compounds are abundant in the human retina and consumption of them in the human diet is essential to eye health. They are presently components of nutritional therapy of patients with macular degeneration and cataracts. White flesh potatoes have between 50 and 100 micrograms per 100 g FW, while potatoes with deeper yellow color may have 500 to 800 and the extremely high levels in Papa Amarilla cultivar types, originating from germplasm in South America, have over 2000 micrograms. Red and purple skinned and fleshed potatoes have anthocyanins which are potent antioxidants. Deeply red or purple fleshed potatoes have from 15 to 35 milligrams of anthocyanin per 100 g FW. They also will show from 2 to 4 times the antioxidant potential of potato. Potatoes have high levels of vitamin C typically containing from 15 to 30 milligrams per 100 g FW. Not only is potato a good source of vitamin C, but its presence facilitates the adsorption of ordinarily hard to absorb nutrients such as iron. Potato is nutrient-rich and breeding is capable of dramatically improving a number of important nutrients in future varieties.