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  • Author or Editor: Regina Kapinga x
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The present study evaluated selected East African (EA) sweetpotato varieties for storage root dry matter and nutrient content and obtained information on the potential contributions of the varieties to alleviate vitamin A and mineral deficiencies. Roots obtained from 89 farmer (white- and orange-fleshed) varieties and one introduced variety (‘Resisto’) were analyzed for storage root quality using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy technology. Location differences were only significant for starch content. The variance was significant (P < 0.01) for all the traits except sucrose content. Overall, the farmer varieties had higher dry matter, higher starch, and lower sucrose contents than the control clone, ‘Resisto’. It is these qualities that make sweetpotato attractive as a starchy staple in EA. A low population's mean β-carotene content (19.0 ppm) was observed. However, deep orange-fleshed farmer varieties, ‘Carrot_C’, ‘Ejumula’, ‘Carrot Dar’, ‘Mayai’, and ‘Zambezi’, had β-carotene content that can meet 350% or greater of recommended daily allowance (RDA) with 250-g serving to a 5- to 8–year-old child. More but light orange-fleshed farmer varieties ‘K-118’, ‘K-134’, ‘K-46’, ‘KMI61’, ‘MLE162 Nakahi’, ‘PAL161’, ‘Sowola6’, ‘Sponge’, ‘SRT34 Abuket2’, ‘SRT35 Anyumel’, ‘SRT52’, and ‘Sudan’ can provide 50% to 90% RDA of pro-vitamin A for the child. The root minerals’ content was generally low except for magnesium whose content can meet 50% or greater RDA in many farmer varieties. However, in areas with high sweetpotato consumption, varieties ‘Carrot_C’, ‘Carrot Dar’, ‘KRE nylon’, ‘MLE163 Kyebandula’, and ‘SRT49 Sanyuzameza’ can make good intakes of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. In conclusion, some EA farmer varieties can contribute greatly to alleviation of vitamin A deficiency and substantial mineral intakes.

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