Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Novel coloured spuds rich in antioxidants


March 31, 2008
By Allison Finnamore

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Blue and purple flesh potatoes could be one of the latest foods to grab consumer awareness of antioxidants.

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Agnes Murphy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 

Blue and purple flesh potatoes could be one of the latest foods to grab consumer awareness of antioxidants.  Agnes Murphy, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada out of Fredericton, says biochemical analyses have confirmed that extracts from red and purple-skinned and flesh potatoes are rich in flavonoids, especially the flavonoids containing cancer-fighting antioxidants. Levels have been found to be up to three times of typical white potatoes. Murphy points out that there is growing scientific and public interest in the benefits of a diet rich with antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.

Research continues, Murphy says, to improve and identify superior selections for commercialization. Evaluations planned for 2006 will see small plots of new varieties tested against the blue-fleshed heritage potato, Congo, similar to the tests conducted in 2005. Examining characteristics like the biochemical attributes, the research also examines traits like appearance, size, eye depth, yield and diseases. Murphy notes the initial field generation of the project began in 2003, so the research is still preliminary.

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