New biofortified potato variety released in Peru

00:00 | Cusco (Cusco region), Dec. 14.

Kulli, a new biofortified potato variety with high concentrations of iron and zinc, has been released in Peru in order to combat malnutrition, anemia, and even colorectal cancer in Andean regions.

The potato is native to Zurite, a town in Cusco region's Anta province, famous for its Inca terraces. 

Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Gustavo Mostajo revealed the benefits of this tuber studied and produced by Cusco scientists from the National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA), attached to the Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry (Minagri).

Gustavo Mostajo welcomed scientists' efforts and said this variety is going to resolve the fight against anemia as its content doubles that of regular or native potatoes, mainly in High-Andean areas of Peru.

Minagri's Head emphasized that Kulli (Quechua word for purple) is the result of genetic improvement in tubers. 

It must be noted the crop has been fortified by scientists despite being rich in polyphenols (antioxidants).

What's more, the color of its flesh may be used to prepare soft drinks, juice, yogurt, and even cosmetics. 

According to the government official, this variety is resistant to pests.

The purple potato contains high levels of iron (23mg/100g) and zinc (19mg/100g), which represents a very high percentage if compared to commercial ones, whose levels are below 11mg/100g in both cases.

Likewise, the brand-new tuber stands out for its high content of polyphenols or antioxidants (189% more than the average level in native potato varieties), thus contributing to the prevention of certain types of cancer.

According to Luis Alberto Tumpay, member of an INIA itinerant group in Zurite, Kulli was obtained by backcrossing 12 varieties of native potatoes.

Published: 12/14/2018
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