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Potato Starch (2020)

Based on Burgos G., Zum Felde T., Andre C., Kubow S. (2020) The Potato and Its Contribution to the Human Diet and Health. In: Campos H., Ortiz O. (eds) The Potato Crop. Springer, Cham

The authors of this content are Gabriela Burgos, Thomas Zum Felde, Christelle Andre, Stan Kubow
Starch is the predominating carbohydrate in potato ranging from 16.5 to 20.0 g/100 g FW (Liu et al. 2007). Biochemically, potato starch is composed of amylose and amylopectin with the latter molecule typically making up 70−80% of the available starch in the tuber and the remaining portion being composed of amylose (Zeeman et al. 2010).

Starch can also be classified by levels of digestibility within the human intestinal tract, i.e. rapidly digested (RDS), slowly digested (SDS), or resistant (RS) starch (Englyst et al. 1992). RDS and SDS represent the portion of starch digested within the first 20 and 21−120 min post-ingestion, respectively.

The remaining resistant starch (RS) is undigested and fermented when it reaches the large intestine with the production of short-chain fatty acids (Raigond et al. 2014). Because of the resistance of the amylose structure to digestion, more of the RS component is expected to be composed of amylose rather than amylopectin.

The rapid breakdown of amylopectin to digestion is the reason that it is more prevalent in RDS and SDS fractions (Bach et al. 2013). Potential health benefits attributed to SDS include satiety, improved physical performance, glucose tolerance enhancement and blood lipid level reduction in healthy individuals and in those with hyperlipidemia (Miao et al. 2015).

Possible health benefits of RS include prevention of colon cancer, hypoglycemic effects, substrate provision for growth of gut probiotic microorganisms, reduction of gall stone formation, hypocholesterolemic effects, inhibition of fat accumulation, and increased absorption of minerals (Sajilata et al. 2006).

Monro et al. (2009) determined the RDS, SDS, and RS concentration of freshly cooked potatoes from nine potato varieties and found concentrations ranging from 9 to 15 g/100 g FW, from 0 to 1.72 g/100 g FW, and from 0.58 to 1.05 g/100 g FW, respectively.

These authors also found that cooking and then cooling potatoes significantly increased SDS and RS (up to 7.7 g and 1.96 g/100 g FW, respectively), while RDS was significantly reduced to 7.3 g/100 g FW.

This latter phenomenon is referred to as starch retrogradation, which is based upon rearrangement of the molecules of amylose and amylopectin causing decreased starch digestion (Leeman et al. 2005).

Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the extent of the change in blood glucose content (glycemic response) following consumption of digestible carbohydrate, relative to a standard such as glucose (Venn and Green 2007). A higher GI value represents a more rapid entry of a larger quantity of glucose from a test food into the bloodstream.

Based on in vivo postprandial GI, high RDS content in foods has been significantly correlated with a high glycemic index response (Champ 2004), whereas low RDS levels are associated with low to medium GI values (Lynch et al. 2007). A wide variability in GI values of potatoes has been noted ranging from high to medium to low values based on cultivar differences (Ek et al. 2012).

Such variations could partly be related to differences in the amylopectin to amylose ratio as amylose-rich starches are digested more slowly due to their difficulty to gelatinize and swell as opposed to starches with a high amylopectin content (Brennan 2005).

Bach et al. (2013) defined low RDS and high SDS as the optimal profile for potatoes that leads to low GI values, and identified two genotypes with this profile. Tuber cooking followed by cooling (forming retrograded starch) is also another way for the consumer to obtain lower postprandial glucose levels, and thereby benefit from reduced GI following potato intake (Fernandes et al. 2005).

Lowering the dietary GI load has been associated with body weight loss, improved blood pressure, and decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas habitual intake of high GI foods has been linked to type 2 diabetes and other chronic heart issues (McGill et al. 2013).

As the GI does not take into account the typical portion size, the GI value and the quantity of carbohydrates are combined to generate the glycemic load (GL) value, which can better quantify the glycemic impact of a food (Salmeron et al. 1997).

Initial studies involving potatoes were limited by the sole use of GI for their glycemic evaluation (Crapo et al. 1977; Soh and Brand-Miller 1999), which categorized them with a high GI. In contrast, potatoes have been generally noted to have a medium to low glycemic impact based on the GL estimation (Lynch et al. 2007).


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