Journal of Food Science and Technology

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 718–726 | Cite as

Rapid quantitative determination of maltose and total sugars in sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. [Lam.]) varieties using HPTLC

Original Article


When a raw sweet potato root is analysed, only sucrose, glucose and fructose are present but during cooking, starch is hydrolysed into maltose giving the sweet flavour to cooked roots. This study aimed at developing an HPTLC protocol for the rapid quantitative determination of maltose and total sugars in four commercial varieties and to compare them to 243 hybrids grouped by flesh colour (white, orange, purple). In commercial varieties, mean maltose content varied from 10.26 to 15.60% and total sugars from 17.83 to 27.77% on fresh weight basis. Hybrids showed significant variation in maltose content within each group, with means ranging from 7.65% for white-fleshed, to 8.53% in orange- and 11.98% in purple-fleshed. Total mean sugars content was 20.24, 22.11 and 26.84% respectively for white, orange and purple flesh hybrids. No significant correlations were detected between individual sugars but maltose and total sugars content were highly correlated. Compared to the best commercial variety (Baby), 25 hybrids (10.3%) presented a higher maltose content and 40 (16.5%) showed a higher total sugars content. HPTLC was observed as an attractive, cost efficient, high-throughput technique for quantitating maltose and total sugars in sweet potatoes. Perspectives for improving sweet potato quality for consumers’ requirements are also discussed.


Clonal generation Early screening Hybrids Phenotypic recurrent selection Sweet potato 



This study would not have been possible without the financial support of the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR, France, through the Project No. ANR-10-STRA-007) and the technical assistance of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD, Vanuatu). Special thanks are due to Charles Rogers for germplasm field maintenance and to Juanita Stevens for laboratory assistance in preparing the samples and extracts.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there are no potential conflicts of interest.


  1. Adu-Kwarteng E, Sakyi-Dawson EO, Ayernor GS, Truong VD, Shih FF, Daigle K (2014) Variability of sugars in staple-type sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivars: the effects of harvest time and storage. Int J Food Prop 17:410–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AOAC (2002) Guidelines for single laboratory validation of chemicals methods for dietary supplements and botanicals. Accessed Mar 2015
  3. Aranda MB, Vega MH, Villages RF (2005) Routine method for quantification of starch by planar chromatography (HPTLC). J Planar Chrom 16:285–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernardi T, Pedrini P, Marchetti MG, Tamburini E (2015) Separation and quantitative determination of carbohydrates in microbial submerged cultures using different planar chromatography techniques (HPTLC, AMD, OPLC). J Anal Bioanal Tech 6:247. doi: 10.4172/2155-98721000250 Google Scholar
  5. Biester A, Wood MW, Wahlin CS (1925) Carbohydrate studies 1. The relative sweetness of pure sugars. Am J Physiol 73:387–396Google Scholar
  6. Bourke M (2009) Sweetpotato in Oceania, Chap 22. In: Loebenstein G, Thottappilly G (eds) The sweetpotato. Springer, Berlin, pp 489–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradbury JH, Holloway WD (1988) Chemistry of tropical root crops: significance for nutrition and agriculture in the Pacific. ACIAR Monograph No 6Google Scholar
  8. Champagne A, Legendre L, Lebot V (2009) Chemotype profiling to guide breeders and explore traditional selection of root crops in Vanuatu, South Pacific. J Agric Food Chem 57:10363–10370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. FAOSTAT (2015) Database food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. Accessed Apr 2016
  10. Grüneberg WJ, Ma D, Mwanga ROM, Carey EE, Huamani K, Diaz F, Eyzaguirre R, Guaf E, Jusuf M, Karuniawan AK et al (2015) Advances in sweetpotato breeding from 1993 to 2012. In: Low J, Nyongesa M, Quinn S, Parker M (eds) Potato and sweetpotato in Africa transforming the value chains for food and nutrition security. CABI, Wallingford, pp 1–77Google Scholar
  11. Horvat RJ, Arrendale GG, Dull GW, Chapman JR, Kays SJ (1991) Volatile constituents and sugars of three diverse cultivars of sweet potatoes [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam]. J Food Sci 56(3):714–715, 742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kays SJ, Wang Y (2002) Sweetpotato quality: its importance, assessment and selection in breeding programs. In: Ames T (eds) Proc 1st IS on sweetpotato. Acta Hort 583, ISHS 2002, pp 187–193Google Scholar
  13. Kays SJ, Wang Y, McLaurin WJ (2005) Chemical and geographical assessment of the sweetness of the cultivated sweetpotato clones of the world. J Am Soc Hort Sci 130(4):591–597Google Scholar
  14. Koehler PE, Kays SJ (1991) Sweet potato flavour: quantitative and qualitative assessment of optimum sweetness. J Food Quality 14:241–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kumagai T, Umemura Y, Baba T, Iwanaga M (1990) The inheritance of β-amylase null in storage roots Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam. Theor Appl Genet 79:369–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lai YC, Huang CL, Chan CF, Lien CY, Liao WC (2013) Studies of sugar composition and starch morphology of baked sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam). J Food Sci Technol 50(6):1193–1199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Laurie SM, Faber M, Calitz FJ, Moelich EI, Muller N, Labuschagne MT (2013) The use of sensory attributes, sugar content, instrumental data and consumer acceptability in selection of sweet potato varieties. J Sci Food Agric 93(7):1610–1619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lebot V, Ndiaye A, Malapa R (2011) Phenotypic characterization of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam] genotypes in relation to prediction of chemical quality constituents by NIRS equations. Plant Breed 130(4):457–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewthwaite SL, Sutton KH, Triggs CM (1997) Free sugar composition of sweetpotato cultivars after storage. New Zeal J Crop Hort Sci 25:33–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mcharo M, LaBonte D (2007) Genotypic variation among sweet potato clones for beta-carotene and sugar contents. In: Proceedings of the 13th Symposium of ISTRC, Tanzania, November, pp 746–754Google Scholar
  21. Morlock GE, Gulnar S (2012) Comparison of two orthogonal liquid chromatographic methods for quantification of sugars in food. J Liq Chromatogr Relat Technol 34(10–11):902–919Google Scholar
  22. Morrison TA, Pressey R, Kays SJ (1993) Changes in α- and β-amylase activities during storage of sweetpotato lines with varying starch hydrolysis potential. J Am Soc Hort Sci 118:236–242Google Scholar
  23. Picha DH (1985) HPLC determination of sugars in raw and baked sweet potatoes. J Food Sci 50(1189–1190):1210Google Scholar
  24. Shallenberger RS (1993) Taste chemistry. Blackie Academic, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sun YB, Severson RF, Kays SJ (1994) Effects of heating temperature and microwave pretreatment on the formation of sugars and volatiles in Jewel sweet potato. J Food Qual 14:447–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Truong VD, Biermann CJ, Marlett JA (1986) Simple sugars, oligosaccharides and starch concentrations in raw and cooked sweet potato. J Agric Food Chem 34:421–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Walter WM Jr, Purcell AE, Nelson AM (1975) Effects of amyolytic enzymes on “moistness” and carbohydrates changes of baked sweet potato cultivars. J Food Sci 40:793–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Waramboi JG, Dennien S, Gidley MJ, Sopade PA (2011) Characterisation of sweetpotato from Papua New Guinea and Australia: physicochemical, pasting and gelatinisation properties. Food Chem 126:1759–1770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wilson JE, Pole FS, Smith NEJM, Taufatofua P (1989) Sweet potato breeding. IRETA-USP Agro-Facts Publication, Western Samoa, p 39pGoogle Scholar
  30. Woolfe JA (1992) Sweet potato, an untapped food resource. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 643pGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhang Z, Wheatley CC, Corke H (2002) Biochemical changes during the storage of sweet potato roots differing in dry matter content. Postharv Biol Technol 24:317–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR AGAPCIRAD-BIOSPort-VilaVanuatu

Personalised recommendations