American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 163–172 | Cite as

Antioxidants in potato

  • C. R. BrownEmail author
Invited Review


The content of compounds in potato that may act as antioxidants in the human diet is not widely appreciated. Carotenoids are present in the flesh of all potatoes. The contents mentioned in the literature range from 50 to 100 μg per 100 g fresh weight (FW) in white-fleshed varieties to 2000 μg per 100 g FW in deeply yellow to orange-fleshed cultivars. The carotenoids in potato are primarily lutein, zexanthin, and violaxanthin, all of which are xanthophylls. There is just a trace of either alpha or beta-carotene, meaning that potato is not a source of pro-vitamin A carotenes. In potatoes with total carotenoids ranging from 35 to 795 μg per 100 g FW, the lipophilic extract of potato flesh presented oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values ranging from 4.6 to 15.3 nmoles α-tocopherol equivalents per 100 g FW. Potatoes contain phenolic compounds and the predominant one is chlorogenic acid, which constitutes about 80% of the total phenolic acids. Up to 30 μg per 100 g FW of flavonoids are present in the flesh of white-fleshed potatoes with roughly twice the amount present in red and purple-fleshed potatoes. The predominant flavonoids are catechin and epicatechin. Red and purple potatoes derive their color from anthocyanins. The skin alone may be pigmented, or the flesh may be partially or entirely pigmented. Whole unpeeled with complete pigmentation in the flesh may have up to 40 mg per 100 g FW of total anthocyanins. Red-fleshed potatoes have acylated glucosides of pelargonidin while purple potatoes have, in addition, acylated glucosides of malvidin, petunidin, peonidin, and delphinidin. The hydrophilic antioxidant activity of solidly pigmented red or purple potatoes is comparable to brussels sprouts or spinach. In red and purple potatoes with solidly pigmented flesh with levels of total anthocyanin ranging from 9 to 38 mg per 100 g FW, ORAC ranged from 7.6 and 14.2 umole per g FW of Trolox equivalents. Potato contains on average 20 mg per 100 g FW of vitamin C, which may account for up to 13 % of the total antioxidant capacity. Potatoes should be considered vegetables that may have high antioxidant capacity depending on the flesh composition.

Additional Key Words

anthocyanins carotenoids phenolic acids flavonoids Solanum tuberosum L. 



2,2’-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride




ferric reducing ability of plasma


oxygen radical absorbance capacity


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA/ARSPrasserUSA

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