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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 25 June 2009 Referencing Hub media

    Scientists testing taewa have found they are rich in nutrients and have many benefits that offer opportunities for new food products. What are their benefits over modern potatoes?


    Dr Jaspreet Singh (Riddet Institute)

    We have 4 varieties of Māori potatoes, and we are comparing these 4 varieties with a modern day potato variety Nadine. These four Māori potato varieties are Karuparera, Tūtaekurī, Huakaroro and Moemoe.

    We’ve tested a range of attributes of these Māori potato varieties starting from the physical chemical characterisation, which includes the estimation of the proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and the dietary fibre.

    The first thing is, they are indigenous to New Zealand, and they are nutritionally rich as compared to the modern day potato variety Nadine. They are rich in proteins, antioxidants and dietary fibre and minerals. We studied the functional properties of starches from the Māori potatoes and the flours and their nutritional characteristics. The functional properties actually represent the processing performance, just like texture, and when we process them at the industrial scale.

    They are very rich in essential amino acids, very high levels of histidine, which is essential for the growth of children, especially the mental and the physical growth, very high levels of calcium. They are rich in antioxidants, which have an anti-ageing effect, and they also help to enhance the proper functioning of the immune system and other metabolic processes in the human body. They are also very rich in dietary fibre, and we all know the benefits of the dietary fibre these days.