• Amylase;
  • amylase inhibitor;
  • digestibility;
  • protease;
  • sweet potato peel;
  • trypsin inhibitor


Sweet potato proteins have been shown to possess antioxidant and antidiabetic properties in vivo. The ability of a protein to exhibit systemic effects is somewhat unusual as proteins are typically susceptible to digestive enzymes. This study was undertaken to better understand how digestive enzymes affect sweet potato proteins. Two fractions of industrially processed sweet potato peel, containing 6.8% and 8.5% protein and 80.5% and 83.3% carbohydrate, were used as a source of protein. Sweet potato proteins were incubated with pepsin, trypsin, and chymotrypsin and protein breakdown was visualized with SDS-PAGE. After pepsin digestion, samples were assayed for amylase inhibitory activity. Sporamin, the major storage protein in sweet potatoes, which functions as a trypsin inhibitor as well, exhibited resistance to pepsin, trypsin, and chymotrypsin. Sporamin from blanched peel of orange sweet potatoes was less resistant to pepsin digestion than sporamin from outer peel and from extract of the white-skinned Caiapo sweet potato. Trypsin inhibitory activity remained after simulated gastric digestion, with the Caiapo potato protein and peel samples exhibiting higher inhibitory activity compared to the blanched peel sample. Amylase and chymotrypsin inhibitory activity was not present in any of the samples after digestion.