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- Author or Editor: Wilmer A. Barrera x
Sweetpotato is considered a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and certain B vitamins. These water-soluble vitamins (WSV) play essential roles in sustaining human health. Besides the root, sweetpotato vegetative tissues are also edible and considered high in nutritional value. Despite the availability of general reference values for sweetpotato WSV content in the root and leaves, little is known about the distribution of these vitamins in specific sweetpotato root and vegetative tissues. The objective of this study was to determine the ascorbic acid (AA), thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), and vitamin B6 content in a range of foliar tissues including buds, vines, young petioles, young leaves, mature petioles, and mature leaves and root tissues including the skin, cortex, and pith tissue at the proximal, distal, and center regions of the root. Among foliar tissues of ‘Beauregard’ sweetpotatoes, the AA content was highest in young leaves (108 to 139 mg/100 g fresh weight) and lowest in mature petioles (7.2 to 13.9 mg). No thiamin was detected in foliar tissue, whereas mature leaves contained the highest riboflavin and vitamin B6 content (0.22 to 0.43 mg and 0.52 to 0.58 mg, respectively). In root tissues of ‘Beauregard’ and ‘LA 07-146’ sweetpotatoes, the AA content was lower in the skin (1.9 to 5.6 mg and 2.54 to 3.82 mg, respectively). The AA content in the cortex and pith tissue at the proximal, distal, and center of the root was generally similar. The thiamin content was variable among root tissues, whereas the skin contained the highest riboflavin content and the lowest vitamin B6 content across root tissues of both cultivars. The results of this study confirmed earlier reports suggesting that sweetpotato leaves can be a good source of multiple WSV in the human diet.