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POTATO - Solanum tuberosum Linnaeus

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Author Topic: POTATO - Solanum tuberosum Linnaeus  (Read 3527 times)
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« on: December 23, 2008, 06:21:05 pm »


                                                         Potato! - History

The history of the potato has its roots in the windswept Andes Mountains of South America. It is an austere region plagued by fluctuating temperatures and poor soil conditions. Yet the tough and durable potato evolved in its thin air (elevations up to 15,000 feet), climbing ever higher like the people who first settled the region.

The tough pre-Columbian farmers first discovered and cultivated the potato some 7,000 years ago. They were impressed by its ruggedness, storage quality and its nutritional value. Western man did not come in contact with the potato until as late as 1537 when the Conquistadors tramped through Peru. And it was even later, about 1570, that the first potato made its way across the Atlantic to make a start on the continent of Europe.

Though the tuber was productive and hardy, the Spanish put it to very limited use. In the Spanish Colonies potatoes were considered food for the underclasses; when brought to the Old World they would be used primarily to feed hospital inmates.

It would take three decades for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe. Even so the potato was cultivated primarily as a curiosity by amateur botanists. Resistance was due to ingrained eating habits, the tuber's reputation as a food for the underpriveleged and perhaps most importantly its relationship to poisonous plants.

The potato is a member of the nightshade family and its leaves are, indeed, poisonous. A potato left too long in the light will begin to turn green. The green skin contains a substance called solanine which can cause the potato to taste bitter and even cause illness in humans. Such drawbacks were understood in Europe, but the advantages, generally, were not.
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2008, 06:23:02 pm »


Europe would wait until the 1780's before the potato gained prominence anywhere. About 1780 the people of Ireland adopted the rugged food crop. The primary reason for its acceptance in Ireland was its ability to produce abundant, nutritious food. Unlike any other major crop, potatoes contain most of the vitamins needed for sustenance. Perhaps more importantly, potatoes can provide this sustenance to nearly 10 people on an acre of land. This would be one of the prime factors causing a population explosion in the early 1800s. Of course, by the mid-1800's the Irish would become so dependent upon this crop that its failure would provoke a famine.

While in Ireland the potato gained acceptance from the bottom up, in France the potato was imposed upon society by an intellectual. Antoine Augustine Parmentier saw that the nutritional benefits of the crop combined with its productive capacity could be a boon to the French farmer. He was a pharmacist, chemist and employee of Louis XV. Parmentier discovered the benefits of the potato while held prisoner by the Prussians during the Seven Years War. He was so enamored by the potato that he determined that it should become a staple of the French diet. After failing by conventional means to convince Frenchmen of its advantages, he determined upon a surreptitious means of making his point.

Parmentier acquired a miserable and unproductive spot of ground on the outskirts of Paris. There, he planted 50 acres of potatoes. During the day, he set a guard over it. This drew considerable attention in the neighborhood. In the evening the guard was relaxed and the locals came to see what all the fuss was about. Believing this plant must be valuable, many peasants "acquired" some of the potatoes from the plot, and soon were growing the root in their own garden plots. Their resistance was overcome by their curiosity and desire to better their lot with the obviously valuable new produce.

Soon the potato would gain wide acceptance across Europe and eventually make its way back over the Atlantic to North America. As time passed, the potato would become one of the major food stuffs of the world. But not without a few bumps in the road. The 1840's saw disastrous potato blight. This terrible disease was caused by a fungus known as Phytophthora infestans. With the devastation of potato crops throughout Europe came the destruction and dislocation of many of the populations that had become dependent upon it. The Potato Famine in Ireland would cut the population by half (through both starvation and emigration). An effective fungicide was not found until 1883 by the French botanist, Alexandre Millardet.

Today, the potato is so common, plentiful and pervasive in the Western diet that it is taken for granted. We forget that it has only been with us for a few hundred years.
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2008, 06:28:15 pm »


5th Century B.C.

In the ancient ruins of Peru and Chile, archaeologists have found potato remains that date back to 500 B.C. The Incas grew and ate them and also worshipped them. They even buried potatoes with their dead, they stashed potatoes in concealed bins for use in case of war or famine, they dried them, and carried them on long journeys to eat on the way (dried or soaked in stew). Ancient Inca potatoes had dark purplish skins and yellow flesh. The Incas called the potato "papas," as they do today. Following is the Inca prayer that historians say they used to worship them.

"O Creator! Thou who givest life to all things and hast made men that they may live, and multiply. Multiply also the fruits of the earth, the potatoes and other food that thou hast made, that men may not suffer from hunger and misery."

16th Century A.D.

The Spanish conquistadors first encountered the potato when they begin arrived in Peru in 1532 in search of gold.

1540 - Pedro de Cieza de Leon (1518–1560), Spanish Conquistador and historian, who wrote about the potato in his chronicles, Chronicles of Peru, in 1540:

"In the vicinities of Quito the inhabitants have with to the maize an other plant that serves to support in great part their existence: the potatoes, that they are of the roots similar to the tubercoli, supplies of one rind more or little hard; when they come bubbled they become to hold like the cooked chestnuts; seccate to the sun call to them chuno and they are conserved for the use."

1565 - Spanish explorer and conqueror, Gonzalo Jiminez de Quesada (1499-1579), took the potato to Spain in lieu of the gold he did not find. The Spanish though that they were a kind of truffle and called them "tartuffo." Potatoes were soon a standard supply item on the Spanish ships; they noticed that the sailors who ate papas (potatoes) did not suffer from scurvy.

1597 - John Gerard (1545-1612), an British author, avid gardener, and collector of rare plants, received roots of the plant from Virginia where he was able to successfully grow it in his own garden. He wrote in his book The herball, the following about the potato:

"Potatoes of the Virginia. The potato of the Virginia has many coppers flexible cables and that crawl for earth... The root is thick, large and tuberosa; not much various one for shape, color and sapore from common potatoes (the sweet potatoes) but a smaller Pò; some are round as spheres, other ovals; the some longer other shortest ones... It grows spontaneously in America where, as Clusius has reported, it has been discovered; from then I have received these roots from the Virginia otherwise Norembega calls; they grow and they prosper in my garden like in their country of origin... Its correct name is cited in the title it. Poichè it possesses not only the shape and the proportions of potatoes, but also their gradevole sapore and virtue we can call them potatoes of the America or Virginia."

NOTE: Although potatoes were called "potatoes of the Virginia" by early English botanists, they were in fact from South America, not the state of Virginia in the United States.
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 06:29:46 pm »


The potato was carried on to Italy and England about 1585, to Belgium and Germany by 1587, to Austria about 1588, and to France around 1600. Wherever the potato was introduced, it was considered weird, poisonous, and downright evil. In France and elsewhere, the potato was accused of causing not only leprosy, but also syphilis, narcosis, scronfula, early death, sterillity, and rampant sexuality, and of destroying the soil where it grew. There was so much opposition to the potato that an edict was made in the town of Besancon, France stating:

"In view of the fact that the potato is a pernicious substance whose use can cause leprosy, it is hereby forbidden, under pain of fine, to cultivate it."

1588 -An Irish legend says that ships of the Spanish Armada, wrecked off the Irish coast in 1588, were carrying potatoes and that some of them washed ashore.

1589 - Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), British explorer and historian known for his expeditions to the Americas, first brought the potato to Ireland and planted them at his Irish estate at Myrtle Grove, Youghal, near Cork, Ireland. Legend has it that he made a gift of the potato plant to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). The local gentry were invited to a royal banquet featuring the potato in every course. Unfortunately, the cooks were uneducated in the matter of potatoes, tossed out the lumpy-looking tubers and brought to the royal table a dish of boiled stems and leaves (which are poisonous), which promptly made everyone deathly ill. The potatoes were then banned from court.

18th Century A.D.

1719 - Potatoes had been introduced to the United States several times throughout the 1600s. They were not widely grown for almost a century until 1719, when they were planted in Londonderry, New Hampshire, by Scotch-Irish immigrants, and from there spread across the nation.

1771 - Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737-1813), a French military chemist and botanist, won a contest sponsored by the Academy of Besancon to find a food "capable of reducing the calamities of famine" with his study of the potato called Chemical Examination of the Potato. According to historical account, he was taken prisoner five times by the Prussians during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) and obliged to survive on a diet of potatoes. He also served dinners at which all courses were made of potatoes. Many French potato dishes now bear his name today.

In 1785, Parmentier persuades Louis XVI (1754–1793), King of France, to encourage cultivation of potatoes. The King let him plant 100 useless acres outside Paris, France in potatoes with troops keeping the field heavily guarded. This aroused public curiosity and the people decided that anything so carefully guarded must be valuable. One night Parmentier allowed the guards to go off duty, and the local farmers, as he had hoped, went into the field, confiscated the potatoes and planted them on their own farms. From this small start, the habit of growing and eating potatoes spread. It is said that Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), Queen of France and married to Louis XVI, often pinned potato flowers in her curls. Because of her, ladies of the era wore potato blossoms in their hair.

1774 - Russian peasant refused to have anything to do with the potato until the mid 1700s. Frederick the Great (1712-1786) sent free potatoes to the starving peasants after the famine of 1774, but they refused to touch them until soldiers were sent to persuade them.
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 06:31:36 pm »


19th Century A.D.

1836 - Although potatoes are grown throughout the United States, no state is more associated with the potato than Idaho. The first potatoes in Idaho were planted by a  Presbyterian missionary, Henry Harmon Spalding (1804-1874). Spalding established a mission at Lapwai in 1836 to bring Christianity to the Nez Perce Indians. He wanted to demonstrate that they could provide food for themselves through agriculture rather than hunting and gathering. His first crop was a failure, but the second year the crop was good. After that, the potato growing ended for a number of years because the Indians massacred the people of a nearby mission, so Spalding left the area.

1845-1849 - The "Great Famine" or also called the "Great Starvation" in Ireland was caused because the potato crop became diseased. At the height of the famine (around 1845), at least one million people died of starvation. This famine left many poverty stricken families with no choice but to struggle for survival or emigrate out of Ireland. Towns became deserted, and all the best shops closed because store owners were forced to emigrate due to the amount of unemployment. Over one and a half million people left Ireland for North America and Australia. Over just a few years, the population of Ireland dropped by one half, from about 9 million to little more than 4 million.

According to a book written in 1962 called The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849 by Cecil Woodham-Smith:

"That cooking any food other than a potato had become a lost art. Women hardly boiled anything but potatoes. The oven had become unknown after the introduction of the potato prior to the Great Starvation."

1850s - Most Americans consider the potato as food for animals rather than for humans. As late as the middle of the 19th Century, the Farmer's Manual recommended that potatoes "be grown near the hog pens as a convenience towards feeding the hogs."

1861 - In Isabella Beeton's 1862 book called Book of Household Management, she wrote about the potato:

"It is generally supposed that the water in which potatoes are boiled is injurious; and as instances are recorded where cattle having drunk it were seriously affected, it may be well to err on the safe side, and avoid its use for any alimentary purpose."

1872 - It was not until the Russet Burbank potato was developed by American horticulturist Luther Burbank (1849-1926) in 1872 that the Idaho potato industry really took off. Burbank, while trying to improve the Irish potato, developed a hybrid that was more disease resistant. He introduced the Burbank potato to Ireland to help combat the blight epidemic. He sold the rights to the Burbank potato for $150, which he used to travel to Santa Rosa, California. In Santa Rosa, he established a nursery garden, greenhouse, and experimental farms that have become famous throughout the world. By the early 1900s, the Russet Burbank potato began appearing throughout Idaho.
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2008, 06:32:58 pm »


20th and 21st Centuries A.D.

Today, the potato is so common and plentiful in the Western diet that it is taken for granted. We seem to forget that the potato has only been with us for a few hundred years.



As American As Apple Pie, by Philllip Stephen Schulz, published by Simon and Schuster, 1990.

A Brief History of the Idaho Potato Industry, by The Idaho Potato Commission, an internet web site.

Chilies to Chocolate, by NelsonFoster and Linda S. Cordell, published by The University of Arizona Press, 1992.

An Internet Modern History Source Book, an internet web site.

Food - An Authoritative and Visual History and Dictionary of the Food of the World, by Waverley Root, published by Smithmark, 1980.

Food Museum, Potato, an internet web site.

Growing and Cooking Potatoes, by Mary W. Cronog, published by Yankee, Inc., 1981.

Royal Cookbook - Favorite Court Recipes From The World's Royal Families, published b Parents' Magazine Press.

Sauerkraut Yankees, Pennsylvania - German Foods and Foodways, by William Woys Weaver, published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

Tallyrand's Culinary Fare, by Jos Wellman, an internet web site.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001.

The Food Chronology, by James Trager, published by Henry Holt and Company 1995.

The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849, by Cecil Blanche Fitz Gerald Woodham Smith, Cecil Woodham-Smith, Charles Woodham,  New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1962.

The Herball, or, Generall Historie of Plantes, by John Gerard, London, Printed by A. Islip, J. Norton, and R. Whitakers, 1636). Secondedition revised by Thomas Johnson (d. 1644) and first published in 1597.

The Night 2000 Men Came To Dinner and Other Appetizing Anecdotes, by Douglas G. Meldrum, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.

The Potato Book, by Myrna Davis, published by William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1972.

Whole Foods Companion, by Dianne Onstad, published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1996.
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 06:40:56 pm »

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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2008, 06:45:57 pm »

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family.

Potato may refer to the plant itself as well.

In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potato is
the world's most widely grown tuber crop, and the fourth largest food crop in terms of fresh produce after rice, wheat, and corn.

Wild potato species occur from the United States to Uruguay and Chile.

Genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species suggest that the potato has a single origin in the area of southern Peru, from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex.

However, although Peru is essentially the birthplace of the potato, today over 99% of all cultivated potatoes worldwide are descendants of a subspecies indigenous to south-central Chile.  Based on historical records, local agriculturalists, and DNA analyses, the most widely cultivated variety worldwide, Solanum tuberosum tuberosum, is believed to be indigenous to Chiloé Archipelago where it was cultivated by the indigenous people.

The potato was introduced to Europe in 1536, and subsequently by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world.  Thousands of varieties persist in the Andes, where over 100 varieties might be found in a single valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household.

Once established in Europe, the potato soon became an important food staple and field crop. But lack
of genetic diversity, due to the fact that very few varieties were initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oocmycete Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine.

The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the twenty-first century would include about 33 kilograms (or 73 lbs.) of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. The potato remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion of potato over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia.

China is now the world’s largest potato producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes
are harvested in China and India.  More generally, the geographic shift of potato production has been away from wealthier countries toward lower-income areas of the world.
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2008, 06:52:41 pm »

The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain).

The Spanish Royal Academy says the Spanish word is a compound of the Taino batata (sweet potato) and the Quechua papa (potato).

This probably indicates that originally, the potato was regarded as a type of sweet potato rather than the other way around, despite the fact that there is actually no close relationship between the two plants at all. Potatoes are occasionally referred to as Irish potatoes in the English speaking world, this term originated to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.

Romanian cartof, Ukrainian картопля (kartóplja), Bulgarian картоф (kartof), Russian картофель (kartofel), German Kartoffel, Danish kartoffel, Icelandic kartafla (or jarðepli, see below), Latvian kartupelis, and Estonian kartul (as well as many other similar names in various languages) all derive
from the Italian word 'tartufoli', which was given to potato because of its similarity to truffles
(Italian: tartufo).

However, the current Italian term for the potato is 'patata'.

Another common name is "ground apple": pomme de terre in French, aardappel in Dutch, jarðepli in Icelandic (or kartafla, see above), תפוח אדמה in Hebrew (often written just as תפוד), and Erdapfel in Austrian German. An analogous name is Finnish as peruna, which comes from the old Swedish term jordpäron "earth pear".

In 16th century French, pomme meant "fruit", thus pomme de terre meant "ground fruit" and was probably literally loan translated to other languages when potatoes were introduced. In Polish potato is called just ziemniaki or in some regions "kartofle", and in Slovak zemiak, from the word for "ground". In Persian it is called seeb-i zameen (سیب‌زمینی) which also translates into 'ground apple'.

In Hindi, Nepali, and several other Indian languages the potato is called alu or aloo, while in Marathi and Gujarati, the potato is called bataka or batata.

 This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.

Different names for the potato developed in China's various regions. The most widely used names in Standard Mandarin are "horse-bell yam" (simplified Chinese: 马铃薯; pinyin: mǎlíngshǔ), "earth bean" (simplified Chinese: 土豆; pinyin: tǔdòu), and "foreign taro" (simplified Chinese: 洋芋; pinyin: yángyù).

The Indonesian word is kentang.

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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2008, 06:54:06 pm »

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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2008, 07:03:23 pm »


Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60cm high, depending on variety, the culms dying back after flowering. They bear white to purple flowers with yellow stamens resembling those of other Solanaceous species such as tomato and aubergine (eggplant) .

Potatoes are cross-pollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees that carry pollen from other potato plants, but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well.

After potato plants flower, some varieties will produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic alkaloid solanine, and is therefore unsuitable for consumption.

All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called "true seed" or "botanical seed" to distinguish it from seed tubers. By finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds will separate from the flesh by sinking to the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit will float).

Any potato variety can also be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers.

Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces.

Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are called "seed potatoes".


The potatoes cultivated in the Andes are not all the same species.

However, the major species grown worldwide is Solanum tuberosum (a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes). Modern varieties of this species are the most widely cultivated worldwide.

There are also four diploid species (with 24 chromosomes):

Solanum stenotomum,

Solanum phureja,

Solanum goniocalyx and

Solanum ajanhuiri.

There are two triploid species (with 36 chromosomes):

Solanum chaucha and Solanum juzepczukii.

There is one pentaploid cultivated species (with 60 chromosomes):

Solanum curtilobum.

There are two major subspecies of Solanum tuberosum:

andigena, or Andean; and

tuberosum, or Chilean.

The Andean potato is adapted to the short-day conditions prevalent in the mountainous equatorial and tropical regions where it originated. The Chilean potato is adapted to the long-day conditions prevalent in the higher latitude region of southern Chile, especially on Chiloé Island where it is thought to have originated.

There are about five thousand potato varieties world wide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school.

Apart from the five thousand cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties, which has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species.

Genetically modified varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European Union.

Most modern potatoes grown in North America arrived through European settlement and not independently from the South American sources.

However, at least one wild potato species, Solanum fendleri, is found as far north as Texas and used in breeding for resistance to a nematode species attacking cultivated potatoes.

A secondary center of genetic variability of the potato is Mexico, where important wild species are found that have been used extensively in modern breeding, such as the hexaploid Solanum demissum,
as a source of resistance to the devastating late blight disease. Another plant native to this region, Solanum bulbocastanum, a close relative of the potato, has been used to genetically engineer the potato to effectively resist potato blight.

The International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, holds an ISO-accredited collection of potato germplasm.
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2008, 07:11:55 pm »

                                                   Role in world food supply

Top Potato Producers

in 2006
(million metric tons)

 People's Republic of China 70

 Russia 39

 India 24

 United States 20

 Ukraine 19

 Germany 10

 Poland 9

 Belgium 8

 Netherlands 7
 France 6

World Total 315


UN Food & Agriculture Organisation

The potato became an important staple crop in northern Europe as the climate changed due to the Little Ice Age, when traditional crops in this region did not produce as reliably as before. At times when and where most other crops would fail, potatoes could still typically be relied upon to contribute adequately to food supplies during the colder years.

Its yield of calories per acre (about 9.2 million) is higher than that of maize (7.5 milion), rice (7.4 million), wheat (3 million), or soybean (2.8 million).

The potato was not popular in France during this time, and it is believed that some of the infamous famines could have been lessened if French farmers had adopted it. Today, the potato forms an important part of the traditional cuisines of most of Europe.

Belarus has the highest consumption of potato per capita with each Belorussian consuming 338 kg in 2005.


Potato output in 2005The United Nations FAO reports that the world production of potatoes in 2006 was 315 million tonnes. The largest producer, China, accounted for one quarter of the global output, followed by Russia and India.

In 2008, several international organizations began to give more emphasis to the potato as a key part of world food production, due to several developing economic problems. They cited the potato's potential for a beneficial role in world food production, owing to its status as a cheap and plentiful crop which can be raised in a wide variety of climates and locales.

Due to perishability, only about 5% of the world's potato crop is traded internationally; its minimal presence in world financial markets contributed to its stable pricing during the 2007–2008 world food price crisis.

In recognition of this importance, the United Nations officially declared the year 2008 as the International Year of the Potato  in order to “increase awareness of the importance of the potato as
a food in developing nations” and calling the vegetable a “hidden treasure”.

This follows the International Rice Year in 2004.

Maine companies are exploring the possibilities of using waste potatoes to obtain polylactic acid for use in plastic products.

Retrieved from
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2008, 07:13:38 pm »

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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2008, 07:17:02 pm »


Potato, raw, with peel

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 80 kcal   320 kJ

Carbohydrates     19 g

- Starch  15 g

- Dietary fiber  2.2 g   

Fat 0.1 g

Protein 2 g

Water 75 g

Thiamin (Vit. B1)  0.08 mg   6%

Riboflavin (Vit. B2)  0.03 mg   2%

Niacin (Vit. B3)  1.1 mg   7%

Vitamin B6  0.25 mg 19%

Vitamin C  20 mg 33%

Calcium  12 mg 1%

Iron  1.8 mg 14%

Magnesium  23 mg 6% 

Phosphorus  57 mg 8%

Potassium  421 mg   9%

Sodium  6 mg 0%

Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.

Nutritionally, potatoes are best known for their carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato).

The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact. This resistant starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: it provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage (Cummings et al. 1996; Hylla et al 1998; Raban et al. 1994). The amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods. Cooking and then cooling potatoes significantly increases resistant starch. For example, cooked potato starch contains about 7% resistant starch, which increases to about 13% upon cooling (Englyst et al. 1992).

Potatoes contain vitamins and minerals that have been identified as vital to human nutrition. A medium potato (150g/5.3 oz) with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C (45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Moreover, the fiber content of a potato with skin (2 grams) equals that of many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. Potatoes also contain an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and polyphenols. The notion that “all of the potato’s nutrients” are found in the skin is an urban legend. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, more than 50% of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. The cooking method used can significantly impact the nutrient availability of the potato.

Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a “low GI” eating regimen. In fact, the GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on type (such as red, russet, white, or Prince Edward), origin (where it was grown), preparation methods (i.e., cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole, etc), and with what it is consumed (i.e., the addition of various high fat or high protein toppings)

(Fernandes et al. 2006).
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2008, 07:18:46 pm »

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