BACKGROUD: Coloured potato varieties rich in anthocyanins are of increasing interest in breeding to upgrade the nutritional quality of tubers. The objective of this study was to examine purple fleshed breeding clones for anthocyanins, soluble phenols and their antioxidant capacity, and to compare them in this respect with purple and white/yellow fleshed potato cultivars.
RESULTS: Within the coloured potato group, the breeding clones had the highest contents of anthocyanins, with values ranging from 0.94 to 1.75 g kg−1 fresh weight. In cultivars and clones with purple flesh the amounts of soluble phenols were 2.6-times higher than in white/yellow fleshed potatoes. In addition, coloured clones exhibited 4.4-fold higher antioxidant activity, which was correlated with phenols and anthocyanins. But there were no major differences between the two potato groups in dry matter, starch, crude protein and reducing sugars.
CONCLUSIONS: The involvement of purple fleshed potatoes in breeding led to increased anthocyanin and phenol contents of the resulting progeny. The high level of bioactive plant phenols coincided with an enhanced antioxidant activity, known for its positive health effects. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry