Development of alternative flavour types of sweetpotato as a means of expanding consumption. (271)

S.J. Kays, Y. Wang, W.J. McLaurin


The flavour of cooked root and tuber crops is a primary determinant in consumer acceptance. Flavour is composed of taste and aroma and can be substantially altered via plant breeding. Using sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.)] as a model, a sweetpotato line with culinary traits similar to baked white potatoes [Solanum tuberosum (L.)], was developed which has a much lower flavour impact, in keeping with other staple crops (e.g., cassava, potato, and rice). The successful alteration of the flavour of a staple crop requires a combination of sensory testing and chemical analysis of critical flavour components (i.e., identification and quantification of the impact of each component on the characteristic flavour). The volatile profiles and identity of odour-active compounds were determined for a traditional ‘North American’ sweetpotato (‘Jewel’) and a non-sweet, staple-type line with a white potato flavour (GA90-16). ‘Jewel’ had substantially higher levels of 2-furmethanol, 2-acetyl pyrrole, maltol, and geraniol, the latter three conferring sweet and (or) caramel notes to the aroma. GA90-16, in contrast, had low levels of volatiles critical to the aroma of ‘Jewel’, and substantially higher levels of 2,3-nonadecanediol, 2,4-decadienal, octyl ketone, and one unidentified compound with a distinct white potato aroma.


Sweetpotato; Flavour profiles; Breeding; Organoleptic qualities; Volatile compounds

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