Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/24/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Citation: Finotti, E., Bersani, E., Vivanti, V., Friedman, M. 2009. Application of a Functional Mathematical Index to the Evaluation of the Nutritional Quality of Potatoes. In: Yee, N;Busseul, W. (Editors) Potato IV, FOOD 3 (Special Issue 2); United Kingdom: Global Scientific Books. p. 30-36. Interpretive Summary: This paper is based on a collaborative study with colleagues at the Italian National Institute of Research in Food and Nutrition in Rome. The paper will be published in a multi-volume special issue on potatoes (FOOD 3 (Special Issue 2): pages 30-36, 2009, Online May 2009; Print, June 2009). Many consumers read labels in order to know the ingredients present that impact dietary or medical requirements. In addition to quality of ingredients, the issue of safety is also important. Farmers and manufacturers have to produce the safest possible food for consumers. Other important quality features are traceability and packaging as well as ingredient and nutritional information. In this paper, we developed and applied a functional mathematical index (FMI) that defines potato quality based on composition. In this regard, it is worth noting the recent isolation of a highly active antimicrobial potato protein. Feeding of the potato protein isolated from red skin variety “Gogu valley” reduced coliform pathogenic bacteria in the digestive tract and in the feces of weanling pigs. The potato protein also improved performance of weanling pigs (Jin et al., Journal of Animal Science, 2008). The inexpensive antimicrobial potato protein has the potential to replace antibiotics in animal feed and may benefit microbial food safety. The main goal of the index is to link composition with factors in growth, production, distribution, and processing of potatoes and potato products for commercial use. In addition, it is expected that the index will be a useful parameter that can detect critical points (harvest time, storage conditions, treatment processes) during the entire growth, production, and distribution cycle of potatoes, and thus suggests new ways to increase the value of potatoes for the human diet.
Technical Abstract: This paper describes the derivation and application of a new functional mathematical index that was used to evaluate the nutritional, safety, and processing quality aspects of potatoes. The index introduces the concept of an “optimal potato”, using appropriate distance and N-dimensional parameter space models. Although the index may not be a unique answer to the need for defining a “quality potato index”, the results of the present study show that it presents an approach that can be used to establish whether a specific potato variety or processed potato product can be considered of high, medium, or low nutritional quality. The main goal of the index is to link composition and chemical quality with factors in growth, production, distribution, and processing of potatoes and potato products for commercial use. In addition, it is expected that the index will be a useful parameter that can detect critical points (harvest time, storage conditions, treatment processes) and susceptibilities (variety, composition) during the entire growth, production, and distribution cycle of potatoes, and thus suggests new ways to increase the value of potatoes for the human diet. The index is intended to complement and extend methods for nutritional quality and safety of potato proteins.