IDENTIFICATION OF COMPOUNDS CONTRIBUTING TO ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY IN SPECIALTY POTATOES (Solanum tuberosum L.)

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

Antioxidants have been widely reported to play an important role in disease prevention. In addition to preventing cancer, stroke, heart diseases, and inflammation, they are also involved in immune surveillance. Since the per capita consumption of potatoes in the U.S. is about 137 lb, even moderate levels of antioxidants in this most important vegetable crop probably have an important human health benefit. About 75% to 80% of antioxidant activity in specialty potatoes is due to phenolics and carotenoids. The objectives of this investigation were to evaluate antioxidant activity and total phenolic and carotenoid content of specialty potato selections from the Texas Potato Variety Development Program, and to identify candidate compounds for cancer cell culture investigations. Potato tubers were also used to identify and quantify individual phenolics and carotenoids. Some 320 specialty selections were screened for antioxidant activity (AA), total phenolic content (TP) and carotenoid content (CC) using DPPH (2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl), FCR (Folin-Ciocalteu Reagent) and colorimetric assays, respectively. After the initial screening, the top 10% were used for analysis of individual phenolics and carotenoids using HPLC. Wide variability for antioxidant activity, phenolic content, and carotenoid content was found among specialty potato selections, providing evidence for genetic control of theses traits. The specialty selection CO112F2-2P/P (purple flesh, purple skin) had the highest AA (832 μg trolox equivalents/g fw), TP (1553 μg chlorogenic acid equivalents/g fw) and CC (590 μg lutein equivalents/100 g fw). Chlorogenic acid (55% to 60%), caffeic acid (≈5%), gallic acid (18% to 20%), and catechin (18% to 20%) were found to be the most prevalent phenolic acids, and lutein and zeaxanthin were the most prominent carotenoids contributing to antioxidant activity. Gallic acid was identified as the candidate compound for use in cancer cell culture investigations.

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