Nutritional and chemical profiling of UK-grown potato bean (Apios americana Medik) reveal its potential for diet biodiversification and revalorisation

Madalina Neacsu*, Nicholas J. Vaughan, Valentina Perri, Gary J. Duncan, Robin Walker, Max Coleman, Wendy R. Russell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Apios americana Medik, a native American plant has potential as a commercially viable Northern European-grown motcrop, mainly due to its resistance to extreme climate and nutritional quality. Analysis of A. americana sourced from two UK sites; South (51.4690 degrees N, 1.1150 degrees W) and North (55.9661 degrees N, 3.2063 degrees W) showed that the tubers were a complete source of amino acids (UPLC-TUV analysis), were rich in protein (15.0 +/- 0.0160 and 17.3 +/- 0.0779%; Vario Max CN analysis), fibre (total non-starch polysaccharides, 10.4 +/- 0.570 and 10.6 +/- 0.280%; GC analysis) and micronutrients (calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, molybdenum, potassium and phosphorus; ICP-MS analysis). Apios americana tubers were also rich in bioactive phytochemicals. From the 156 plant metabolites measured using LC-MS/MS analysis, genistein was the major phytophenol in both the Southern- and Northern UK tubers (259 +/- 12.2 mg Kg(-1) and 356 +/- 29.9 mg Kg(-1) respectively); the peel having similar phytochemical profiles. The protein and fibre content of the leaves (17.3 +/- 0.0434% and 11.7 0.0445%) and rhizomes (18.4 +/- 0.0152% and 13.5 +/- 0.590%) were significantly higher (p <0.05) than the tubers. The leaves were also a good source of anthocyanins; delphinidin and cyanidin (840 +/- 137 and 3934 +/- 176 mg Kg(-1) respectively). Cultivation of A. americana as a high-protein staple-crop has enormous potential in Northern European countries for human nutrition, diet diversification, and use in livestock diets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103821
Number of pages17
Journal Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Early online date27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This study was funded by The Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank to Donna Henderson, Viv Buchan, Gill Campbell from the Rowett Institute Analytical Department for helping with the sample analysis.


  • Apios americana
  • Dietary protein
  • Dietary fibre
  • Peel
  • Tuber
  • Tuber rhizomes
  • Leaves
  • Anthocyanins
  • Bioactive phytochemicals


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