Also known as yam, batata and camote, but the official Latin name is Ipomoea batatas.

The sweet potato is present with about 6000 wild and cultivated varieties. The region of the origin is the Yucatan Peninsula (carbon dated at between 8000-10000 BC.) and spread over the world in the batatas line by Portuguese explorers and the “kamote” line by Spanish trading galleons. The third line is the prehistoric transmission of the “kumara” line, which isn’t clear yet. This all was possible, because the sweet potato, with its broad genetic base, has an adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions, is seldom fertilized or irrigated, is cheap to cultivate and may give a year-round supply of supplemental staple food to the low-income population. Of all the world’s root and tuber crops, sweet potato is second only to white potato in importance.

Sweet potato contains, besides large amounts of carbohydrate energy (amylose ±20% and amylopectine) and reasonable fibre levels, high levels of carotenes (pro-vitamin A), vitamin C (20-30mg/100g), vitamin B1, riboflavin, niacin and panthotenic acid as well as amounts of Ca, P, Fe and K and sufficient amounts of some essential amino acids and lysine. Though crude protein content and amino acid pattern of sweet potato protein varies depending upon cultivars, environment, cultural management and growth duration.

Main disadvantages of consuming sweet potato are the factors causing flatulence (resistant starch, SCFA, enzyme activity) and bulk faeces (due to dietary fibre) and reduced appetite caused by the high sugar content and related insulin response. Personally, I think ceviche is delicious.


the above text was part of the introduction chapter of my report about research carried out at the CIP in Peru in 1995.

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