Zapping Potatoes Makes Them Healthier for Consumers

By Stephanie Lam
Stephanie Lam
Stephanie Lam
August 28, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015
Scientists found that treating potatoes with ultrasound and electric current increases their antioxidant content. (Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D)
Scientists found that treating potatoes with ultrasound and electric current increases their antioxidant content. (Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D)

Shocking potatoes with electricity and ultrasound can boost the amounts of antioxidants in them, scientists reported on Aug. 22 at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston.

“We knew from research done in the past that drought, bruising, and other stresses could stimulate the accumulation of beneficial phenolic compounds in fresh produce,” said lead researcher Dr. Kazunori Hironaka from Obihiro University in Hokkaido, Japan.

“Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are considered to be of nutritional importance in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, various cancers, diabetes, and neurological diseases.”

The researchers immersed whole potatoes in water for the ultrasound treatment, and salt water for the electricity treatment. They found that five minutes of ultrasound treatment increased the potatoes’ antioxidant activity by 1.5 times and chlorogenic acid content by 1.5 times, while ten minutes of electricity treatment increased the antioxidant activity by 1.6 times, total phenol content by 1.2 times, and chlorogenic acid content by 1.7 times.

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