Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a generic name that contains many well-known or unknown varieties. In daily production and life, the most common varieties are mealy potato, waxy potato and soggy potato. In China, besides high yield and wide planting area, potatoes have many advantages such as tenacious vitality, great adaptability to the environment and multiple nutritional values. Due to the regional culture and different customs, the potato is not a main meal product in many regions.

Potatoes are widely planted around the world with an output of 374 million tons globally each year, of which China’s output accounts for the largest proportion. Peru was the first country to cultivate potato, which dates back from 8000 to 5000 BC, while China only has 460 years’ of potato planting history. The potato is not only called one of top four products of the world together with wheat, rice and corn, but also one of the five major crops in the world. If we talk about the nutritional profile of potato, the potato is a carbohydrate-rich, energy-providing food with little fat. Potato protein content is fairly low but has an excellent biological value of 90–100. Potatoes are particularly high in vitamin C and are a good source of several B vitamins and potassium. The skins provide substantial dietary fibre.

Many compounds in potatoes contribute to antioxidant activity and interest in cultivars with pigmented flesh is growing. Potatoes are stuffed with phytonutrients, which are organic components of plants that are thought to promote health, according to the USDA. Phytonutrients in potatoes include carotenoids, flavonoids and caffeic acid. Potatoes are also a good source of potassium. “All potatoes are potassium rich. They have even more potassium than a banana and a lot of it is found in the [potato’s] skin. It is noted that outer potato peel also contains a good deal of fibre. Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Potatoes also contain glycoalkaloids, which can be toxic to humans in high concentrations, but have beneficial effects in low concentrations, such as inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Potato whole flour contains large amounts of carbohydrates that can provide energy for people’s normal activities. In addition to providing energy, as a multi-functional product, the potato has many other effects. The Chinese Dietary Guidelines made a professional analysis of the daily diet of people. In the version 2016, each person requires 250 to 400g cereals and 50 to 100g of tuber crops whole flour every day, which marks potato to become a main food. Fresh potatoes are not conducive for long-term storage and are perishable during transportation. If fresh potatoes are dehydrated and made to flour, the above problems would be solved effectively. In addition, the supply time will be longer and without seasonal restrictions that will promote the process of potatoes becoming a staple food in China.

Potato flour is an excellent food raw material and food additive that can be applied in cakes, puffed food, breakfast food, baby food, condiments and soup. In recent years, much attention has been paid to the process and application of potato flour in developed countries, while considerable human and material resources have also been devoted to this kind of research by developing countries.

With the development of potatoes as a staple food, people have paid more and more attention to it and its related products. Potato whole flour can be directly eaten as a re-hydrated food. Additionally, it can also be blended with other daily food. It has a wide range of applications for our daily lives.

Potatoes are either consumed directly or they are processed to give products such as chips and French fries, mashed and canned potatoes. Value addition of potato contributes to crop diversification, improves the farmer’s income and nutrition and provides value export and additional employment. Potatoes with special attributes like coloured skin/flesh having more anthocyanins, better taste or texture, nutritionally superior (zinc and iron rich, anthocyanin/carotene/antioxidants rich) or having low glycemic index are also becoming popular. These specialty potatoes fetch premium prices in the market. All of these can be potential value added products in the near future. It contains a large number of nutrients that are good for health. It is suitable for people of all ages and the market prospects for these are highly optimistic. Therefore, it has great research value. Potatoes possess the most energy as compared to any popular vegetable. Additionally, they are also fat-free, gluten-free, plant-based, inexpensive and high in fibre. They have no cholesterol or sodium and only 110 calories per 5.3oz serving.

The cultivation area and the yield of potatoes in China are at the forefront of the world. Although, the potato resources are very rich, the development of potato industry is still at the early stage. Their future development looks highly promising and the potentiality is beyond predictions. The potato is a wholesome food with all the extremely important and necessary dietary constituents which are needed for human health and growth. Compared to other roots and tubers and also many cereals, potato tubers have a high ratio protein to carbohydrates with the protein containing a higher nutritional value. Although, potatoes have been traditionally used as food after baking, boiling or roasting, their commercial value has increased considerably when they are processed into edible product that appeal to consumers, owing to flavour, texture, appearance and most of all convenience.

Potato is a highly nutritious, easily digestible, wholesome, unique food, since it can be consumed as boiled or fried or processed, all with equal culinary delicacy. Perhaps, no other food crop possesses such an inherent capacity as the potato to produce so many different processed products, which can be enjoyed across different generations. The majority of the world’s potatoes are grown in India and China, though its cultivation is better suited to cooler climates. With the climate heating up, those areas may soon be forced to grow alternative crops. If we look to potato, it has been thermo-sensitive and was only productive under long day conditions in temperate climate. Temperature controls the plant growth, development and yield and day degrees are normally used to quantify its effect.

The future research direction should be focused on optimizing processing technologies of potato flour and related production equipment, especially on the research of potatoes, which needs more manpower and material resources. While improving the product quality, lower production cost is essential in order to expand the application fields of potato flour.

References:

1. North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. “Project Report on Potato and Banana Chips 2017”.
2. Wright, R. C., Davis, M. E., & Hendel, C. E. (1950). The Making of Potato Chips. Crops in Peace and War – The Yearbook of Agriculture, 181-89.
3. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations “Potato crisps”.

About the Authors:
Monica Reshi, Bushra Bashir, Qurazzah Akeemu & Bushra Manzoor
Division of Food Science and Technology, SKUAST-K
Corresponding Author Email ID: monikareshi@gmail.com

 

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An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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