Potato taste answer
EVER wondered why some potatoes taste better than others? So have British Potato Council- funded researchers.
Now they think they have the answer, which will help breeders select varieties more effectively in future.
"We know from consumer research that taste, texture and aroma are what buyers want. But there is little information on measuring those characteristics objectively," says BPC research director Mike Storey.
Now workers have analysed over 250 different volatile substances which are released from cooked potatoes and used electron microscopy to check the starch characteristics which control texture.
The results have been compared with the tests used by tasting panels and trained tasters in the food industry to establish a reliable, objective method of predicting consumer appeal, he says. Such measurements, which can be made on raw potatoes, are already helping identify which varieties are best suited to which cooking techniques and the different effects of storage.
"It is showing us why some varieties suit microwave cooking more than traditional oven baking, for example, and will help select varieties for new cooking techniques, such as flash baking which is already popular in the US."
Total cost of the project was £439,500, 35% from BPC funds, 46% from government through the LINK scheme and 19% from industry partners. *
• Volatile substance check.
• Starch content measured.
• Results match taste panels.
• Faster variety selection.
Potato technology will get a national airing at Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire on June 7 and 8 next year, owing to a potential clash between any harvesting demo in early September with the World Potato Congress in Amsterdam and the Dutch industrys Potato 2000 event at Emmeloord.