UK scientists have identified bioactive plant chemicals in the most practical of staple foods, the potato. These natural chemicals have been associated with reduced blood pressure and they selectively affect a chemotherapeutic target for trypanosomes and similar diseases such as sleeping sickness.
“Potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years, and we thought traditional crops were pretty well understood”, says food scientist Dr Fred Mellon from the Institute of Food Research (IFR). “But this surprise finding shows that even the most familiar of foods might conceal a hoard of health-promoting chemicals”.
Kukoamines and related compounds were found at higher levels than some other compounds in potatoes that have a long history of scientific investigation. However, kukoamines are little studied, as they have only previously been found in an exotic plant whose bark is used to make an infusion in Chinese herbal medicine.
Zoe Dunford | alfa
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