Profiling phytochemical and nutritional components of potato

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Valcarcel Barroso, Jesus
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University College Cork
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Potatoes (Solanum Tuberosum L.) contain secondary metabolites that may have an impact on human health. The aim of this study was to assess the levels of some of these compounds in a wide range of varieties, including rare, heritage and commercial cultivars. Vitamin C, total carotenoids, phenolics, flavonoids, antioxidant activity and glycoalkaloids were determined, using spectroscopy and chromatography, in the skin and flesh of tubers grown in field trials. Transcript levels of key synthetic enzymes were assessed by qPCR. Accumulation of selected metabolites was higher in the skin than in the flesh of tubers, except ascorbate, which was undetected in the skin. Differences were on average 2.5 to 3-fold for carotenoids, 6-fold for phenolics, 15 to 16-fold for flavonoids, 21-fold for glycoalkaloids and 9 to 10-fold for antioxidant activity. Higher contents of carotenoids were associated with yellow skin or flesh, and higher values of phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant activity with blue flesh. Variety ‘Burren’ had maxima values of carotenoids in skin and flesh, variety ‘Nicola’ of ascorbate, variety ‘Congo’ of phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant activity in both tissues, except antioxidant activity in the skin, which was higher in ‘Edzell Blue’. Varieties ‘May Queen’ and ‘International Kidney’ had highest glycoalkaloid content in skin and flesh respectively. The effect of the environment was diverse: year of cultivation was significant for all metabolites, but site of cultivation was not for carotenoids and glycoalkaloids. Levels of expression of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and chalcone synthase were higher in varieties accumulating high contents of phenolic compounds. However, levels of expression of phytoene synthase and L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase were not different between varieties showing contrasting levels of carotenoids and ascorbate respectively. This work will help identify varieties that could be marketed as healthier and the most suitable varieties for extraction of high-value metabolites such as glycoalkaloids.
Solanum tuberosum , PCR , Potato , Phytochemical , Antioxidant , Vitamins , Ascorbic acid , Carotenoids , Phenolic compounds , Flavonoids , Glycoalkaloids , Gene expression
Valcarcel, J. 2014. Profiling phytochemical and nutritional components of potato. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.