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Research Project: Resources for the Genetic Improvement of Potato

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Progress and successes of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative on acrylamide reduction in processed potato products

Author
item Bethke, Paul

Submitted to: American Journal of Potato Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2018
Publication Date: 5/7/2018
Citation: Bethke, P.C. 2018. Progress and successes of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative on acrylamide reduction in processed potato products. American Journal of Potato Research. 95(4):328-337. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12230-018-9660-2.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12230-018-9660-2

Interpretive Summary: Acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen, forms when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures. Processed potato products, including French fries and potato chips, make a substantial contribution to total dietary acrylamide. Health safety concerns raised by acrylamide in food increased financial risks to the potato industry and encouraged industry to take a proactive approach toward acrylamide mitigation. The USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative on acrylamide reduction in processed potato products is a cooperative endeavor in which industry partners worked at a systems level with university and government researchers to develop acrylamide mitigation strategies. Short-term goals focused on identifying potatoes that have lower acrylamide-forming potential than the standard potato varieties. Research was also directed at developing more efficient potato breeding methods. Dramatic reductions in the acrylamide content in French fries were shown to be achievable through the use of new varieties. Options for decreasing acrylamide content in potato chips include increased use of varieties that maintain chip quality through extended storage and breeding for varieties with decrease amounts of the acrylamide precursors. To have an impact, new varieties must have exceptional agronomic performance and must produce finished products that meet requirements for consumer attributes including color, texture and taste. Data consistently show that this is more easily achievable in chipping potatoes than in fry processing potatoes. These research efforts better enable the US potato industry to mitigate financial risks and health concerns associated with acrylamide. Furthermore, the breeding tools developed will allow for more efficient generation of new potato varieties that meet consumer and industry needs.

Technical Abstract: Acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen, is a Maillard reaction product that forms when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures. Processed potato products, including French fries and potato chips, make a substantial contribution to total dietary acrylamide. Health safety concerns raised by acrylamide in food increased financial risks to the potato industry and encouraged industry to take a proactive approach toward acrylamide mitigation. The USDA National Institutes of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) on acrylamide reduction in potato is a cooperative endeavor in which industry partners worked at a systems level with university and government researchers to develop acrylamide mitigation strategies. Short-term goals focused on identifying advanced breeding clones and recently released varieties that have lower acrylamide-forming potential than standard potato varieties. Research was also directed at developing more efficient potato breeding methods, including marker-assisted breeding, genome wide selection, and improved phenotyping methods. Data from the National Fry Processing Trial (NFPT) and SCRI agronomic trial have shown that dramatic reductions in acrylamide are achievable through the use of new varieties that maintain low concentrations of tuber reducing sugars. Chipping potato trials coordinated by Potatoes USA and data from breeding populations suggest that maintaining low tuber reducing sugars through extended storage and lowering tuber asparagine content are options for decreasing acrylamide content in potato chips. To have an impact, new varieties must have exceptional agronomic performance and must produce finished products that meet requirements for consumer attributes including color, texture and taste. Data consistently show that this is more easily achievable in chipping potatoes than in fry processing potatoes.