The edible tuber, potato, is a starchy food that is an integral part of all cuisines. This vegetable contains vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like natural phenols and carotenoids. Potates with their skin are rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and traces of thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc. Potatoes are also have some fibre content, and this is about as much as that of breads, pastas, and other whole grain foods like cereals. However, potatoes can sometimes get diseases by pathogenic organisms and there are certain diseases potato that you should be aware of in order to prevent them.
The potato plant has quite an interesting history. It was initially domesticated in the regions of Peru and Bolivia between 8000 BC and 5000 BC. In both these regions, tubers were exposed to the cold air of the night and then they were kept frozen for long periods, even several years, in underground storehouses without any loss of nutritional value. Before the end of the 16th century, the potato plant arrived in Europe by various ports of entry two of which are Spain and British isles. The fishermen from Spain utilized this starchy tuber as ship stores during their voyages all across the Atlantic. They were the ones who first introduced the potato to the western Ireland. Potatoes rapidly became famous of of its cheapness, the way it always satisfied the consumer and that it almost never spoiled. Soon the whole of Europe was sustained on this edible tuber. Diseases potato gave many a populations a hard time. These diseases potatoes will be shed light on here.
Diseases potato can be bacterial, viral, fungal in origin or even due to parasites like nematodes. Here we will discuss the most common diseases potatoes that everyone should should have knowledge of. Late blight caused by an oomycete fungus called Phytopthora infestans caused development of spores and dark blotches on this plant, there is decay and appearance of white mold. The potato rots away and becomes inedible. Fungicides can be used to prevent this diseases potato. A bacterium, Pectibacterium carotovorum, is an agricultural pathogen and it too infects potatoes and causes them to decay. It causes development of blackleg and soft rot in potatoes. Another diseases potatoes is powdery mildew caused by different species of fungi. The lower leaves are affected in this disease, mildew spots develop and the spots increase in size gradually. This can be controlled and managed by using chemicals, genetic resistance and clever farming methods such as tilling under crop residues.
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Potatoes are famous for is their abundant carbohydrate content. Most of this is starch that is digestible but some of it is indigestible. This starch that is resistant to break down by the enzymes of the stomach and small intestine, reaches the large intestine in the form it was ingested. Because it remains intact, it acts like fibre and provides the same sort of beneficial health effects. These include provision of bulk, protection against colon cancer, improvement of insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance as well as lowering of plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentration. Another effect is that it gives us a feeling of satiety and lowers fats storage to some degree. All of this depends on the way we cook the potato, cooling the potato after cooking increases the content of resistant starch. The benefits of potatoes hence are many and with careful farming the potato diseases can be prevented to yield nutritional and healthy tubers.