Glycoalkaloids in potato was the topic of a number of newspaper articles recently , since the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture published a review on glycoalkaloids in potato and potato products. Although most of us prefer to read newspaper articles that educate the general public on the numerous nutritional benefits of the potato, the attention to glycoalkaloids may serve the potato industry well.
As far as I am aware, potato glycoalkaloids have not been a problem anywhere – and have not been for a while. Hence, the current attention to glycoalkaloids may serve as a useful reminder to keep paying attention to this issue and keep that record.
Glycoalkaloids are naturally present toxins, that probably evolved as protective compounds in response to tissue damage. Glycoalkaloids have anti-microbial, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. In low concentrations glycoalkaloids can have a positive impact on flavour. However, in higher concentration glycoalkaloids cause a bitter taste and can be toxic.
Both consumers and potato industry can take a number of precautions to keep the risks of glycoalkaloids negligible. Here is a list with suggestions of what various players in the potato supply chain can do:
Breeders/Agencies that decide on the introduction of new varieties