Potato is consumed as an important source of carbohydrate and other nutrients as well as a good source of phenolics. Acrylamide is a potential carcinogen formed during frying of potato products. This study investigated the compositions of phenolic compounds, amino acids and reducing sugars in 16 commercial potato varieties from eight countries and analysed the relationships between these compositions and the levels of acrylamide generated by heating (185 °C, 25 min) potato powders.
Major phenolic compounds in the tested potato varieties were identified as hydroxycinnamoylquinic/hydroxycinnamoyl derivatives by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Great variations in the contents of phenolic compounds, free reducing sugars and amino acids as well as wide variations in acrylamide concentration were found among the different potato varieties. Correlation analysis revealed that fructose (r = 0.956***), glucose (r = 0.826***) and asparagine (r = 0.842***) were positively correlated with acrylamide formation. Interestingly, it was observed that higher levels of phenolic compounds were related to lower levels of acrylamide (r = - 0.692*).
Careful selection of potato varieties with lower levels of fructose, glucose and asparagine and higher levels of phenolic compounds may mitigate acrylamide formation during thermal processing of potato products.