Scientists Shock Potatoes to Increase Antioxidant Levels

September 22, 2010

A team of scientists has discovered that ultrasound and electric shock can increase the polyphenol content in potatoes, according to research presented on Sunday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS reports the findings as 'simple, inexpensive ways' to increase the antioxidant content of potatoes.

A team of scientists has discovered that ultrasound and electric shock can increase the polyphenol content in potatoes, according to research presented on Sunday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

ACS reports the findings as 'simple, inexpensive ways' to increase the antioxidant content of potatoes.

The scientists used two methods: electric shock and ultrasound, high frequency sound waves. For the former method, potatoes were placed in water, followed by 5-10 minutes of ultrasound. For the latter method, potatoes were placed in a salt solution for 10 seconds and then given a small electric charge for 10, 20, and 30 minutes.

The resulting effect was increases of antioxidant activity and phenolic content in all methods. With five minutes of ultrasound, polyphenol levels were 1.2 times greater and other antioxidant levels were 1.6 times greater.

'We found that treating potatoes with ultrasound or electricity for 5-30 minutes increased the amounts of antioxidants'”including phenols and chlorogenic acid'”by as much as 50%,' said lead researcher Kazunori Hironaka, PhD, of Obihiro University (Hokkaido, Japan). According to Hironaka, previous research had been limited to an understanding that drought, bruising, and other stresses could affect phenolic compounds of certain produce.