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Posted on: March 1st, 2022

Potatoes don’t seem to be a nutritionally versatile source of protein at first glance. Protein makes up just about 2% (when cooked) of the nutritional composition of a potato. Recent research suggests that potato protein may be easy to isolate and enhance, potentially opening the door for potato protein-based nutraceuticals.

Why Potato Protein Could be Beneficial

Potatoes have a low risk of affecting individuals with allergies. While potato allergies do exist, research looking to isolate and enhance potato proteins could eliminate allergy-causing glycoproteins like the patatins.

The nutritional value of potatoes comes primarily in the form of vitamins C and B6. A single potato covers just about 10-25% of the daily value of vitamins C and B6, with the amount depending on the type of potato and whether it is cooked and contains the skin or not. Potatoes are also low in fat, which can help with some diets.

The overall properties of potatoes can be thought of in 3 ways; nutritional, nutraceutical, and functional.

Nutritional

Positive nutritional information concerning the contents of a potato (cooked).

  • 19 amino acids
  • Highly digestible (cooked)
  • Good source of nutrition (carbs, protein, vitamins)

Nutraceutical

Potential of potatoes for future use as a component of nutraceutical products and fortification of other products/foods.

  • Positive anti-microbial properties
  • High potential for allergy-free refining

Functional

The features of potatoes make them a great candidate for product formulation and nutraceutical research.

  • High solubility
  • High foaming potential
  • Great emulsion stability

The main downside of potato-heavy diets comes from the high-starch content. While potatoes are just 17% carbohydrates, about 90% of those carbohydrates are starch. This leads potatoes to be listed as foods to be avoided for individuals on diets that require a low glycemic index.

Enhancing Potato Protein

Recent research has been looking at isolating potato protein, followed by attempts to enhance the protein for a potential allergy-free nutraceutical. Three methods have been researched with some positive results in recent studies:

  • Using heat to increase the foaming ability of potato protein
  • Using pressure to increase the emulsion stability of the foam
  • Increasing the water holding capacity of enzymatic properties

The potential applications of successful potato protein isolation that are being explored include:

  • Fortified vitamin supplementation
  • Allergy-free infant formulas
  • Cheese flavoring
  • Future nanoparticle research

The elimination of potential allergens from potato protein will play an important role in the future of potato-based nutraceuticals. Being able to produce cheese flavoring for non-dairy based cheeses and allergy-free infant formulas would alleviate many allergy-related fears among parents of young children.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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