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Enhanced coloration reveals high antioxidant potential in new sweetpotato cultivars

Philpott, Martin, Gould, Kevin S., Markham, Kenneth R., Lewthwaite, Steve L.
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2003 v.83 no.10 pp. 1076-1082
anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, color, cooking, coumaric acids, cultivars, developing countries, food crops, paper chromatography, sweet potatoes
Sweetpotato is one of the world's most important food crops, particularly in developing countries. The storage roots have high carbohydrate and vitamin A contents and possess strong antioxidant potential, previously attributed to their hydroxycinnamic acid content. We report on several new purple sweetpotatoes developed for their high anthocyanin content. Although the antioxidant activity of purple sweetpotato extracts was greater than that of sweetpotato lacking anthocyanins, anthocyanins alone could not account for all the activity. Extract components were separated by 2D paper chromatography, and their relative contributions to antioxidant activity were determined. The antioxidant activity of the extracts from sweetpotato was shown to be due to both anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids, additively. Neither the anthocyanin content nor the antioxidant activity of sweetpotato flesh was affected by common cooking methods. These findings may be important in the light of the health-protective properties attributed to both antioxidants and anthocyanins.