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Evdokia Menelaou, Armen Kachatryan, Jack N. Losso, Michael Cavalier, and Don La Bonte

Fresh leaves of 6 sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam.) genotypes, `Beauregard', `Bienville', L99–35, L00–8, L01–145, and L01–29, were characterized for lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid capable of delaying blindness-related macular degeneration. The content of lutein in sweetpotato ranged from 0.38 to 0.58 mg·g–1 fresh weight. Beta-carotene separated from lutein on high-pressure liquid chromatograms and when spiked in pure lutein extract did not interfere with lutein separation. High-resolution electro-spray ionization mass spectrometric analysis was used to confirm the presence of lutein in sweetpotato leaves. Stems were also characterized and found not to contain lutein. Our results showed that sweetpotato leaves are an excellent source of dietary lutein and surpass levels found in leafy crucifers. Leaves of sweetpotato and a related species are human food in some countries and may be a major source of lutein for commercial purposes.