​​Acrylamide and Processed Potatoes

November 2018 | 25 min., 17 sec.
by Paul C. Bethke
USDA-ARS and University of Wisconsin


​Acrylamide, a suspected human carcinogen, is formed when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures. Processed potato products, including french fries and potato chips, make a substantial contribution to total dietary acrylamide. Health safety concerns raised by acrylamide in food increase financial risks to the potato industry and have encouraged industry to take a proactive response toward acrylamide mitigation. This presentation will provide growers, potato storage managers, crop consultants, and individuals in the potato-processing industry with the information needed to understand how acrylamide is formed, why potato products are relatively high in acrylamide, and what mitigation approaches the potato industry can use to reduce the amount of acrylamide in processed potato products.

About the Presenter

Paul C. BethkePaul C. Bethke is a researcher with the USDA and an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin (UW). For the past 10 years, he has conducted research on how environmental conditions during growth and storage influence the postharvest physiology and quality of potato tubers. Specific areas of emphasis include cold-induced sweetening, stem-end chip defect, sugar-end defect, and genetic determinants of potato that contribute to the expression of favorable and unfavorable traits. Bethke was a leader of the Specially Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) on acrylamide mitigation in processed potato products, in which he worked collaboratively with researchers, growers, and members of industry from all regions of the United States. His research group also studies remote sensing as it applies to potato and the effects of management practices and environment on the skin color of red potatoes. Bethke received a BS in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison, an MS in plant physiology from Texas A&M, and a PhD in molecular and physiological plant biology from UC Berkeley.​

Contact Information:
Email: paul.bethke@ars.usda.gov


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