Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electrifying success in raising antioxidant levels in sweet potatoes

Date:
August 20, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
Already ranked by some as number one in nutrition among vegetables, the traditional sweet potato can be nutritionally supercharged with a simple, inexpensive electric current treatment that increases its content of healthful polyphenols or antioxidants by 60 percent, scientists have said. This is believed to be the first electrical enhancement of sweet potatoes, a dietary staple since prehistoric times.

Zapping sweet potatoes with electricity boosts their already-high content of healthful antioxidant levels.
Credit: Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D.

Already ranked by some as number one in nutrition among all vegetables, the traditional sweet potato can be nutritionally supercharged ― literally ― with a simple, inexpensive electric current treatment that increases its content of healthful polyphenols or antioxidants by 60 percent, scientists said at a conference in Philadelphia August 20.

Their report on the first electrical enhancement of sweet potatoes, a dietary staple since prehistoric times, was part of the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. "Many people don't realize it, but sweet potatoes are one of the world's most important food crops," said Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D., who led the research team.

More than 95 percent of the global sweet potato crop grows in developing countries, where it is the fifth-most important food, and malnutrition is a serious problem," he said. "Our discovery offers a way to further increase the sweet potato role in relieving hunger and improving nutrition and health."

Hironaka and colleagues at the University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan, previously discovered that passing an electric current through white potatoes increased the polyphenol levels by 60 percent. Polyphenols are a family of chemical compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables that may help protect people from diseases and the effects of aging.

The electric current apparently stresses the potatoes, and they produce more polyphenols as a protective measure. The team suspected that the same effect would occur with sweet potatoes, but until now, nobody had tried.

In the new study, Hironaka and colleagues used the same approach, putting sweet potatoes into a salt solution that conducts electricity, and then passing various amounts of electric current through the water and the potatoes for 5 minutes. The best results came with 0.2 amps of current, which increased antioxidant activity in the potatoes by 1.4 times and total polyphenol content by 1.6 times compared to untreated potatoes. He noted that untreated sweet potatoes already are high in antioxidants, with 7 times more polyphenols than other potatoes.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest once ranked the baked sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next-highest vegetable (a baked white potato) by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine.

Hironaka also noted that the electrical zapping seems to have no effect on the flavor, and that steaming is the best method of cooking to retain the most antioxidants. The electrical treatment method is inexpensive and simple enough to be used on small farms or in food distribution centers, he noted.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "Electrifying success in raising antioxidant levels in sweet potatoes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820152104.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2012, August 20). Electrifying success in raising antioxidant levels in sweet potatoes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820152104.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Electrifying success in raising antioxidant levels in sweet potatoes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820152104.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins