Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
New methods to detect, measure potato nutrients


May 19, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

May
19, 2010, Prosser, WA – Potatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors-including
tubers with red, yellow, orange and purple flesh. This diversity also applies
to phytonutrients, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Prosser,
WA, are discovering.



May
19, 2010, Prosser, WA – Potatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors-including
tubers with red, yellow, orange and purple flesh. This diversity also applies
to phytonutrients, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Prosser,
WA, are discovering.

Together
with colleagues, they’ve devised new analytical procedures for rapidly
detecting and measuring phytonutrient concentrations in the tubers.
Phytonutrients are plant compounds that are of particular interest for their
potential to help diminish the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory
problems and certain cancers, note Roy Navarre and Chuck Brown, geneticists
with the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crop Research Unit in Prosser.

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Using
the new analytic methods, Navarre and Brown profiled the phytonutrient contents
of several hundred lines of wild and cultivated potato. For example, their
analysis of phytonutrients, known as phenolics, showed concentrations that
ranged from 100 to more than 1,500 milligrams per 100 grams dry weight in the
potatoes.

One
type of phenolic, called chlorogenic acid, is being tested by university
cooperators for its potential to lower blood pressure. Also of interest are
potatoes with high antioxidant activity, which is credited with helping
neutralize cell-damaging molecules in the body called free radicals. Some
potatoes boast antioxidant levels that rival vegetables such as spinach,
Navarre reports.

Read
more about the phytonutrient studies, as well as other potato research being
conducted by ARS scientists at other locations, in the May/June 2010 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.


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