Amylose content decreases during tuber development in potato

J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Oct;96(13):4560-4. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7673. Epub 2016 Apr 6.


Background: Potato starch is composed primarily of amylopectin and amylose in an approximately 3:1 ratio. Amylose is considered to be nutritionally desirable in North American and European markets, so there is interest in finding strategies to increase the amylose content of potato starch. There is also interest in marketing 'baby' potatoes, which are harvested when they are physiologically immature. This study was carried out to determine weekly changes in amylose content in potato tubers of 11 North American cultivars during the growing season. The trial was repeated across 3 years.

Results: We determined that amylose content is highest early and it decreases in a linear fashion as the growing season progresses. Mean amylose content across cultivars and years declined from 30.0% in late June to 26.8% in late August. The rate of decrease varied across years, with slopes of linear regression plots ranging from -0.17 in 2012 to -0.74 in 2011. Amylose content in tuber starch varied among cultivars, with the highest levels observed in Ranger Russet (30.7%) and White Pearl (31.6%); it was lowest in Kennebec (25.7%) and Langlade (25.6%).

Conclusions: This study adds to a growing body of literature on the nutritional value of immature potato tubers. In addition to having higher levels of some phytonutrients, as reported in other studies, immature tubers have a higher proportion of amylose in the starch. This is nutritionally desirable in affluent regions where high fiber content is more important than calories from carbohydrates. Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Keywords: Solanum tuberosum; amylose; potato; tuber starch.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Amylopectin / analysis
  • Amylopectin / biosynthesis
  • Amylose / analysis*
  • Amylose / biosynthesis
  • Crop Production*
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis*
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis*
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Tubers / chemistry*
  • Plant Tubers / growth & development
  • Plant Tubers / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Solanum tuberosum / chemistry*
  • Solanum tuberosum / growth & development
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Wisconsin


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Amylose
  • Amylopectin