The effects of cooking, storage, and ionizing irradiation on carotenoids, antioxidant activity, and phenolics in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)
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Past research conducted by our lab demonstrated that potatoes contain significant levels of phytochemicals important to human health. However, since potatoes are not consumed raw, it is important to determine the effects of processing on these levels. Therefore, the changes in carotenoid content, antioxidant activity, and phenolic content were investigated using combinations of cultivars, cooking methods, storage treatments, and low-dose ionizing irradiation. Carotenoid content was measured via absorbance at 445 nm, 450 nm, and HPLC identification. Antioxidant activity was measured initially and at stabilization via the DPPH method and phenolic content was measured via the Folin method and HPLC identification. Microwaved, baked, fried, and raw potato samples contained more carotenoids than boiled samples. The samples microwaved, baked, and fried contained higher antioxidant activity and phenolics than the boiled or raw samples. However, the compound quercetin dihydrate appeared to decrease with cooking. Carotenoids, antioxidant activity, and phenolics appeared to decrease with storage; however, high storage temperatures and long storage times were believed to cause a dehydration and concentration of compounds, which caused levels to be equal to or greater than before storage. However, this decreasing trend was not linear and there were multiple significant interactions. The compound chlorogenic acid appeared to be quite sensitive to high temperature storage. Irradiation dose appeared to have only a minor, if any, effect on carotenoid levels. The interaction between storage time and irradiation dose was very influential on antioxidant activity. In early stages of storage, higher doses of irradiation had greater antioxidant activity, while, with continued storage, low doses had higher antioxidant activity. Exposure to irradiation appeared to cause an increase in phenolic content, determined by the Folin method. There may be a stimulation, induction, or release of some compounds due to processing; however, its magnitude is not believed to be as great as genetic control. The effects of processing can not be denied and should continue to be investigated. Future studies investigating the health properties of fruits and vegetables, particularly potatoes should include processing effects.