Production of Irish potato flour as a potential ingredient for food processing industry
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Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown worldwide and in most of the developing countries, it is considered the fourth most important food crop grown for both cash and food. The potato tubers have a short shelf life leading to post harvest losses and reduced food security. In Uganda, the processing potential of the potato has not been adequately exploited due to lack of; skills, appropriate technologies and financial infrastructure. A study on production of Irish potato flour as a potential ingredient for food processing industry was undertaken through experimental designs, with three objectives; to identify, select and assess suitable potato varieties for production of potato flour, to compare the nutritional composition of potato and its flour, to assess the acceptability of products developed using potato flour. The study identified three suitable potato varieties of Rwangume, Kinigi and Rutuku for processing into acceptable potato flour. Potato flour was developed through washing of the identified potato varieties, peeling using a peeling machine (Model, A302 EP25TA), sliced using a cutting machine (model CL55), soaked in two volumes of 0.3% potassium metabisulfite for 5 min, blanched in water at 90-95°C for 5minutes using a blancher (Model M200-FN-B), dried at 75°C for 4hr, using a static dryer (model 1BG), and the dried slices were milled into a flour using a motorized hammer mill. Nutritional composition of potato and its flour revealed that; raw potato had a higher moisture content of 79.83% and potato flour had a moisture content of 6.51%, potato flour showed higher ash content of (3.74%) when compared to raw fresh potato (1.15%), potato flour had a higher fat content (0.45%) when compared to fresh raw potato samples with (0.153%), potato flour had a higher protein content (2.53%) when compared to fresh raw potato samples (2.11%). Results obtained on acceptability of potato flour that was used in production of value-added chapattis and biscuits, revealed that; sensory evaluation score values for; color, flavor, taste and texture of different chapattis and biscuits were not significantly different (p≥0.05) and were highly acceptable with up to 20% potato flour incorporation for Chapattis and up to 30% incorporation for Biscuits. Research findings have demonstrated the potential of processing potatoes into flour and it’s recommended that production of potato flour as an ingredient for food processing industry be commercialized using appropriate innovative processing technologies.