Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a vegetable crop that belongs to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family. Till date, 110 wild and 4 cultivated species of potato have been recorded and it is highly heterozygous in nature with a ploidy level ranging from diploid to hexaploidy (Slater et al., 2014). However, the cultivated potatoes are tetraploid.
The human body consists of free radicals which when accumulate can increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Compounds like anti-oxidants are capable of neutralizing these harmful free radicals. Potatoes are rich in compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, and phenolic acids. These compounds act as antioxidants that are believed to help protect against diseases.
The more color there is in the potato skin and flesh, the higher the total antioxidant activity. Colored potatoes like purple potatoes can have three to four times more antioxidants than tan-skinned white-fleshed potatoes. This makes them potentially more effective at neutralizing free radicals. Even more interesting is that there are between five and ten times more antioxidant compounds in the skin than in the flesh. The time of harvest and potato stress levels are also very important indicators of total antioxidant activity. The younger the potato, the greater the ratio of skin to tuber content, and the greater the total antioxidant content found.
The Advanced Seed Research & Biotech Centre, ACI Limited is working relentlessly to establish anti-oxidant-rich potato varieties. The variety is already under field trial for various assessments. We should work to convince people that eating potato skins is good for them, providing them with a great source of fiber and a very high level of antioxidant activity.
ASRBC, ACI Seed, ACI Ltd.