Profile of potato in Pakistan
5 Role in world food supply
6.1 Comparison to other major staple foods
7 Growth and cultivation
8 Genetically modified potatoes
10.1 Culinary uses
12 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum
tuberosum of the Nightshade family. The word may refer to the
plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes,
there are some other closely related cultivated potato species.
Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region four centuries
ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world's
cuisine. It is the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice,
wheat and maize. Long-term storage of potatoes requires
specialised care in cold warehouses.
Potato cultivars appear in a variety of
colors, shapes, and sizes
Potato is grown in more than 100 countries, under temperate,
subtropical and tropical conditions. It is essentially a "cool weather
crop", with temperature being the main limiting factor on
production: tuber growth is sharply inhibited in temperatures
below 10°C (50°F) and above 30°C (86°F), while optimum yields
are obtained where mean daily temperatures are in the 18 to 20°C
(64 to 68°F) range.
For that reason, potato is planted in early spring in temperate zones and late winter in warmer
regions, and grown during the coolest months of the year in hot tropical climates. In some subtropical highlands, mild temperatures and high solar radiation allow farmers to grow potatoes
throughout the year, and harvest tubers within 90 days of planting (in temperate climates, such in
northern Europe, it can take up to 150 days).
The potato is a very accommodating and adaptable plant, and will produce well without ideal soil
and growing conditions. However, it is also subject to number of pests and diseases. To prevent
the build-up of pathogens in the soil, farmers avoid growing potato on the same land from year to
year. Instead, they grow potato in rotations of three or more years, alternating with other,
dissimilar crops, such as maize, beans and alfalfa. Crops susceptible to the same pathogens as
potato (e.g. tomato) are avoided in order to break potato pests' development cycle.
With good agricultural practices, including irrigation when necessary, a hectare of potato in the
temperate climates of northern Europe and North America can yield more than 40 tonnes of fresh
tubers within four months of planting. In most developing countries, however, average yields are
much lower - ranging from as little as five tonnes to 25 tonnes - owing to lack of high quality
seed and improved cultivars, lower rates of fertilizer use and irrigation, and pest and disease
SOIL AND LAND PREPARATION
The potato can be grown almost on any type of soil, except saline and alkaline soils. Naturally
loose soils, which offer the least resistance to enlargement of the tubers, are preferred, and loamy
and sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter, with good drainage and aeration, are the
most suitable. Soil with a pH range of 5.2-6.4 is considered ideal.
Growing potatoes involves extensive ground preparation. The soil needs to be harrowed until
completely free of weed roots. In most cases, three ploughings, along with frequent harrowing
and rolling, are needed before the soil reaches a suitable condition: soft, well-drained and wellaerated.
The potato crop is usually grown not from seed but from "seed potatoes" - small tubers or pieces
of tuber sown to a depth of 5 to 10 cm. Purity of the cultivars and healthy seed tubers are
essential for a successful crop. Tuber seed should be disease-free, well-sprouted and from 30 to
40 g each in weight. Use of good quality commercial seed can increase yields by 30 to 50
percent, compared to farmers' own seed, but expected profits must offset the higher cost.
The planting density of a row of potatoes depends on the size of the tubers chosen, while the
inter-row spacing must allow for ridging of the crop (SEE BELOW). Usually, about two tonnes
of seed potatoes are sown per hectare. For rainfed production in dry areas, planting on flat soil
gives higher yields (thanks to better soil water conservation), while irrigated crops are mainly
grown on ridges.
STAGES IN CROP DEVELOPMENT
1. Planted seed tuber
2. Vegetative growth
3. Tuber initiation
4. Tuber bulking
During the development of the potato canopy, which takes about four weeks, weeds must be
controlled in order to give the crop a "competitive advantage". If the weeds are large, they must
be removed before ridging operations begin. Ridging (or "earthing up") consists of mounding the
soil from between the rows around the main stem of the potato plant. Ridging keeps the plants
upright and the soil loose, prevents insect pests such a tuber moth from reaching the tubers; and
helps prevent the growth of weeds.
After earthing up, weeds between the growing plants and at the top of the ridge are removed
mechanically or using herbicides. Ridging should be done two or three times at an interval of 15
to 20 days. The first should be done when the plants are about 15-25 cm high; the second is often
done to cover the growing tubers.
MANURING AND FERTILI ZATION
The use of chemical fertilizer depends on the level of available soil nutrients - volcanic soils, for
example, are typically deficient in phosphorus - and in irrigated commercial production, fertilizer
requirements are relatively high. However, potato can benefit from application of organic
manure at the start of a new rotation - it provides a good nutrient balance and maintains the
structure to the soil. Crop fertilization requirements need to be correctly estimated according to
the expected yield, the potential of the variety and the intended use of the harvested crop.
The soil moisture content must be maintained at a relatively high level. For best yields, a 120 to
150 day crop requires from 500 to 700 mm (20 to 27.5 inches) of water. In general, water deficits
in the middle to late part of the growing period tend to reduce yield more than those in the early
part. Where supply is limited, water is directed towards maximizing yield per hectare rather than
being applied over a larger area.
Because the potato has a shallow root system, yield response to frequent irrigation is
considerable, and very high yields are obtained with mechanized sprinkler systems that replenish
evapotranspiration losses every one or two days. Under irrigation in temperate and subtropical
climates, a crop of about 120 days can produce yields of 25 to 35 tonnes/ha (11 to 15.6 tons per
acre), falling to 15 to 25 tonnes/ha (6.6 to 15.6 tons per acre) in tropical areas.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Against diseases, a few basic precautions – crop rotation, using tolerant varieties and healthy,
certified seed tubers - can help avoid great losses. There is no chemical control for bacterial and
viral diseases but they can be controlled by regular monitoring (and when necessary, spraying) of
their aphid vectors. The severity of fungal diseases such as late blight depends, after the first
infection, mainly on the weather - persistence of favourable conditions, without chemical
spraying, can quickly spread the disease.
Insect pests can wreak havoc in a potato patch. Recommended control measures include regular
monitoring and steps to protect the pests' natural enemies. Even damage caused by the Colorado
Potato Beetle, a major pest, can be reduced by destroying beetles, eggs and larvae that appear
early in the season, while sanitation, crop rotations and use of resistant potato varieties help
prevent the spread of nematodes.
Yellowing of the potato plant's leaves and easy separation of the tubers from their stolons
indicate that the crop has reached maturity. If the potatoes are to be stored rather than consumed
immediately, they are left in the soil to allow their skins to thicken - thick skins prevent storage
diseases and shrinkage due to water loss. However, leaving tubers for too long in the ground
increases their exposure to a fungal incrustation called black scurf.
To facilitate harvesting, the potato vines should be removed two weeks before the potatoes are
dug up. Depending on the scale of production, potatoes are harvested using a spading fork, a
plough or commercial potato harvesters that unearth the plant and shake or blow the soil from the
tubers. During harvesting, it is important to avoid bruising or other injury, which provide entry
points for storage diseases.
Since the newly harvested tubers are living tissue – and therefore subject to deterioration - proper
storage is essential, both to prevent post-harvest losses of potatoes destined for fresh
consumption or processing, and to guarantee an adequate supply of seed tubers for the next
For ware and processing potatoes, storage aims at preventing "greening" (the build up of
chlorophyll beneath the peel, which is associated with solanine, a potentially toxic alkaloid) and
losses in weight and quality. The tubers should be kept at a temperature of 6 to 8°C degrees, in a
dark, well-ventilated environment with high relative humidity (85 to 90 percent). Seed tubers are
stored, instead, under diffused light in order to maintain their germination capacity and
encourage development of vigorous sprouts. In regions, such as northern Europe, with only one
cropping season and where storage of tubers from one season to the next is difficult without the
use of costly refrigeration, off-season planting may offer a solution.
PROFILE OF POTATO IN PAKISTAN
Over the years, potato has become an important crop for both farmers and consumers in
Pakistan. It is the fourth most important crop by volume of production, it is high yielding,
having a high nutritive value and gives high returns to farmers.
From around 3,000 Ha. At the time of independence, the area under production increased to
around 112,000 ha during 2004-2005. During the same period the average yields rose from
around 9 in 1947 to 18 MT per ha. Pakistan is self-sufficient in potatoes for household
consumption and relies for more than 99% on locally produced seed potatoes. Presently, it is
estimated that the total annual domestic production amounts to around 2.02 Million MT, of
which 280000 MT is used as seed and 1.7 Million MT is available for consumption after post
harvest losses. With a population of roughly 150 Million, this accounts to 11 Kg per Capita per
The recent large increase in acreage was reached by an intensification of the cultivation in
existing potato growing areas, as well as by introduction of the crop in new areas and to
inexperienced farmers. Hence, many problems, like diseases and pests, became more hazardous
and a large number of farmers are lacking knowledge of the right cultivation technique. These
include pests and disease control, land preparation and irrigation, fertilizer application, crop
rotation and multi-cropping techniques. The lack of credit facilities to purchase inputs creates
difficulties, in particular for small farmers, inhibiting their effort to raise productivity.
High quality costly seed forms another constraint. The seed contributes to about 35-40% of the
total cost of production in Pakistan. Formal certified seed production is limited and faces
technical, economical and managerial problems. Lack of availability of sufficient quantities of
good seed and low purchasing power of the farmers, forces them to rely on seed sources of
doubtful quality or own production, for which most of them do not have the proper skills.
Poor post harvest handling, including transport and storage practices, causes unnecessary
damage and losses and reduction of consumption quality. Sufficient cold store space is available
in Pakistan. The handling of potatoes in storage is unsatisfactory and poorly managed. Finally,
the farmers and consumers are faced with serve cyclical fluctuations in price, as production
moves from glut to shortage, so preventing the farmers from enjoying a reliable income and
inhibiting the consumer from including potato as a regular staple part in his diet.
Area and production of potatoes in Pakistan:
1. From Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan,
MINFAL, Islamabad 2004-2005.
Provincial Shares in Area and production.
Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan respectively account for 86, 0.5, 9 and 4.5 percent of the
total area and 88.3, 0.3, 7.2 and 4.2 percent of the production of potatoes in the country.
The shares of Autumn, Spring and Summer crops in the annual production are estimated at 75,10
and 15 percent, respectively.
Important Potato Production Districts.
Districts of Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Jhang, Lahore, Narowal, Pakpattan,
Gujranwala, T.T. Singh and Khanewal from the Punjab, Nowshera, Dir, Swat, Balakot, Gilgit,
Sakardu and Mansehra from the NWFP and Pishin, Killa Saifulla and Kalat from Balochistan are
important potato growing districts, accounting among themselves for 78 percent of the total
production of the crop.
Changes in Area, Yield and Production.
(a) Long Term Changes:- 1995-96 to 2004-05.
Potato production during the ten year period between 1995-96 to 2004-05 is estimated to have
increased @ 7.5 percent per annum on account of 3.8 percent annual expansion in its area and
3.7 percent improvement.
The lion’s share in potato production in last six year was (1999-2005) i.e. 90 percent comes from
Punjab, where Autumn and Spring crops are raised from Balochistan 3 percent from sindh, 0.25
percent from NWFP, 6.62 percent.
In Sindh, area of potatoes have decreased by 3.2 percent resulting in production decrease of 12.5
percent in the last ten years.
Climatic conditions in the NWFP are conducive to grow all three crops of potatoes. Total
production from these crops has increased @ 6 percent on account of 2 expansion in area and 4
percent rise in yield.
In Balochistan, only Summer crop is cultivated. The production in this province has diminished
9.3 percent in last ten years because the area under the crop has contracted @ 4.35 percent.
MAJOR POTATO GROWING SEASONS
TABLE NO. VI:
IMPORTANT POTATO VARIETIES BEING GROWN IN PAKISTAN
TABLE NO. VII:
Raja, Symphonia, Asterix
DIFFERENT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSTITUTES/ORGANIZATIONS
WORKING IN SEED POTATO PRODUCTION
- Agricultural Biotechnology, NARC, Islamabad.
- Syko International Company Lahore.
- Plant Virology, AARI, Faisalabad.
- Bari traders Lahore.
- Hazara Agriculture Research Station, Abbottabad. - Okara Potato, Vegetable & Fruit Growers
- Potato Seed Unit, Deptt. Of Agri. Gilgit.
- Bhatti Brothers Lahore.
- VSSPP, Farm, ARI, Quetta.
- Nangaparbat Potato Growers Association,
- Punjab Seed Corporation, Sahiwal.
-Hammad & Company, Sahiwal
- Haji Sons Lahore
- Stamex International, Lahore
- AGB Seed Company Lahore
- Trade channels, Lahore.
- Punjab Agri. Farms, Lahore.
NON AVAILABILITY OF QUALITY SEED:
Rapid degeneration of quality seed due to its multiplication in spring season which is full of
viral diseases vector Myzus persicae.
Total quantity of imported seed has to pass through spring season for further
Spread of fungal diseases.
Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) was found major yield limiting factor in high hills and is
also a serious problem in plains, it may reduce the yield up to 70%.
In year 2006-07 late blight appear as major disease in all potato growing areas. This disease is
favored by temperature between 10 C0 and 25 C0, accompanied by heavy dew or rain.
It is suggested to growers in future precautionary sprays of fungicide in the month of November
for autumn crop, in February for spring crop and in August for summer crop can help to save
potato crop from sever damage of late blight.
Two type of the fungicides are available in market protective and curative to control this disease.
Diseases with Mycoplasma Pathogens:
Mycoplasma was found a serious problem in major potato growing areas of Punjab. 45%
reduction in yield was recorded in research trials.
Soil borne diseases.
Monocropping in hilly areas and lack of crop rotation in other potato growing areas of Pakistan
are major causes for spread of soil borne diseases.
Rhizoctonia, Verticillium, Scab and Softrot.
Lack of high yielding and disease resistance clones.
No proper gene pool is available in the country.
Lack of coordination in seed producing agencies.
There is very little coordination among public and private seed producers.
Different agro-ecological zones for potato production.
Irrigated plains of Sindh, Southern Punjab and Balochistan.
Irrigated plains of Central Punjab and South East NWFP.
III. Irrigated and rainfed plains of NWFP and Northern Punjab.
IV. Irrigated lower valleys of NWFP.
V. Rainfed high valleys and hill sides of NWFP, Northern Punjab and Azad Kashmir.
VI. Irrigated high valleys of NWFP, Northern Areas around Chillas and Azad Kashmir.
VII. Irrigated high valleys of Northern Areas and NWFP around Mastuj.
VIII.Irrigated high valleys of Balochistan, South and North Waziristan.
The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain). The Spanish
Royal Academy says the Spanish word is a compound of the Taino batata (sweet potato) and the
Quechua papa (potato). The name potato originally referred to a type of sweet potato rather
than the other way around, although there is actually no close relationship between the two
plants. The English confused the two plants one for the other. In many of the chronicles detailing
agriculture and plants, no distinction is made between the two. The 16th-century English
herbalist John Gerard used the terms "bastard potatoes" and "Virginia potatoes" for this species,
and referred to sweet potatoes as "common potatoes". Potatoes are occasionally referred to as
"Irish potatoes" or "white potatoes" in the United States, to distinguish them from sweet
The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil (or a hole) prior to the planting
of potatoes. The word has an unknown origin and was originally (c. 1440) used as a term for a
short knife or dagger, probably related to Dutch spyd and/or the Latin "spad-" root meaning
"sword"; cf. Spanish "espada", English "spade" and "spadroon". The word spud traces back to
the 16th century. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845 it
transferred over to the tuber itself. The origin of "spud" has erroneously been attributed to a
19th-century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The
Society for the Prevention of an Unwholesome Diet. It was Mario Pei's 1949 The Story of
Language that can be blamed for the false origin. Pei writes, "the potato, for its part, was in
disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for
the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to
spud." Like most other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this one is false.
Flowers of a potato plant
Russet potatoes with sprouts
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on
variety, the culms dying back after flowering. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers
with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins,
while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Potatoes are crosspollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants,
but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing
day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.
After potato plants flower, some varieties produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry
tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic
alkaloid solanine and is therefore unsuitable for consumption. All new potato varieties are grown
from seeds, also called "true seed" or "botanical seed" to distinguish it from seed tubers. By
finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds separate from the flesh by sinking to
the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit float). Any potato variety can also be
propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two
eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed
tubers. Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect
flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces. Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are
called "seed potatoes," because the potato itself functions as "seed".
There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the
Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. They belong to eight or
nine species, depending on the taxonomic school. Apart from the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there
are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated
varieties, which has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases
from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species. Genetically
modified varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European
The major species grown worldwide is Solanum tuberosum (a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes),
and modern varieties of this species are the most widely cultivated. There are also four diploid
species (with 24 chromosomes): S. stenotomum, S. phureja, S. goniocalyx, and S. ajanhuiri.
There are two triploid species (with 36 chromosomes): S. chaucha and S. juzepczukii. There is
one pentaploid cultivated species (with 60 chromosomes): S. curtilobum. There are two major
subspecies of Solanum tuberosum: andigena, or Andean; and tuberosum, or Chilean. The
Andean potato is adapted to the short-day conditions prevalent in the mountainous equatorial and
tropical regions where it originated. The Chilean potato, native to the Chiloé Archipelago, is
adapted to the long-day conditions prevalent in the higher latitude region of southern Chile.
The International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, holds an ISO-accredited collection of
potato germplasm. The international Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium announced in
2009 that they had achieved a draft sequence of the potato genome. The potato genome
contains 12 chromosomes and 860 million base pairs making it a medium-sized plant genome.
More than 99 percent of all current varieties of potatoes currently grown are direct descendants
of a subspecies that once grew in the lowlands of south-central Chile. Nonetheless, genetic
testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species affirms that all potato subspecies derive
from a single origin in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia
(from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex).
Most modern potatoes grown in North America arrived through European settlement and not
independently from the South American sources. However, at least one wild potato species,
Solanum fendleri, is found as far north as Texas and used in breeding for resistance to a
nematode species that attacks cultivated potatoes. A secondary center of genetic variability of the
potato is Mexico, where important wild species that have been used extensively in modern
breeding are found, such as the hexaploid Solanum demissum, as a source of resistance to the
devastating late blight disease. Another relative native to this region, Solanum bulbocastanum,
has been used to genetically engineer the potato to resist potato blight.
Potatoes yield abundantly with little effort, and adapt readily to diverse climates as long as the
climate is cool and moist enough for the plants to gather sufficient water from the soil to form
the starchy tubers. Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that
feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten. By contrast, grain can be stored for several
years without much risk of rotting.
The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme
northwestern Bolivia between 8000 and 5000 BCE. It has since spread around the world and
become a staple crop in many countries.
According to conservative estimates, the introduction of the potato was responsible for a quarter
of the growth in Old World population and urbanization between 1700 and 1900. Following
the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the
second half of the 16th century. The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to
territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by distrustful
European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played
a major role in the European 19th century population boom. However, lack of genetic
diversity, due to the very limited number of varieties initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable
to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete
Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland,
resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine. Thousands of varieties still
persist in the Andes however, where over 100 cultivars might be found in a single valley, and a
dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household.
ROLE IN WORLD FOOD SUPPLY
Potato yield in producing countries, 2000
(million metric tons)
People's Republic of China 88.4
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation
The United Nations FAO reports that the world production of potatoes in 2010 was about 324
million tonnes. Just over two thirds of the global production is eaten directly by humans with
the rest being fed to animals or used to produce starch. This means that the annual diet of an
average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg (or 73 lb) of
potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. It
remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita
production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few
decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world's largest potato-
producing country, and nearly a third of the world's potatoes are harvested in China and India.
The geographic shift of potato production has been away from wealthier countries toward lowerincome areas of the world, although the degree of this trend is ambiguous.
In 2008, several international organizations highlighted the potato's role in world food
production, in the face of developing economic problems. They cited its potential derived from
its status as a cheap and plentiful crop that grows in a wide variety of climates and locales.
Due to perishability, only about 5% of the world's potato crop is traded internationally; its
minimal presence in world financial markets contributed to its stable pricing during the 2007–
2008 world food price crisis. Thus, the United Nations officially declared 2008 as the
International Year of the Potato, to raise its profile in developing nations, calling the crop a
"hidden treasure". This followed the International Rice Year in 2004.
Potato, raw, with skin
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
321 kJ (77 kcal)
- Dietary fiber
Thiamine (vit. B1)
0.08 mg (7%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)
0.03 mg (3%)
Niacin (vit. B3)
1.05 mg (7%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.296 mg (6%)
0.295 mg (23%)
Folate (vit. B9)
16 μg (4%)
19.7 mg (24%)
0.01 mg (0%)
1.9 μg (2%)
12 mg (1%)
0.78 mg (6%)
23 mg (6%)
0.153 mg (7%)
57 mg (8%)
421 mg (9%)
6 mg (0%)
0.29 mg (3%)
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The potato contains vitamins and minerals, as well as an assortment of phytochemicals, such as
carotenoids and natural phenols. Chlorogenic acid constitutes up to 90% of the potato tuber
natural phenols. Others found in potatoes are 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid (crypto-chlorogenic acid),
5-O-caffeoylquinic (neo-chlorogenic acid), 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic
acids. A medium-size 150 g (5.3 oz) potato with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C (45%
of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV)
and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
The fiber content of a potato with skin (2 g) is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads,
pastas, and cereals.
The potato is best known for its carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium
potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of
this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches
the large intestine essentially intact. This resistant starch is considered to have similar
physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: It provides bulk, offers protection against colon
cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and
triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage. The
amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods. Cooking and then
cooling potatoes significantly increases resistant starch. For example, cooked potato starch
contains about 7% resistant starch, which increases to about 13% upon cooling.
The cooking method used can significantly affect the nutrient availability of the potato.
Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often
excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a low-GI diet. In fact, the GI of potatoes
can vary considerably depending on type (such as red, russet, white, or Prince Edward), origin
(where it was grown), preparation methods (i.e., cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold,
whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole, etc.), and with what it is consumed (i.e., the
addition of various high-fat or high-protein toppings).
In the UK, potatoes are not considered by the NHS as counting towards the five portions of fruit
and vegetables diet.
COMPARISON TO OTHER MAJOR STAPLE FOODS
The following table shows the nutrient content of potato and other major staple foods, each in
respective raw form. Staple foods are not commonly eaten raw and are usually sprouted or
cooked before eating. In sprouted and cooked form, the relative nutritional and anti-nutritional
contents of each of these grains may be different from the values reported in this table.
Nutrient content of major staple foods
Wheat[ Potato[ Cassava[ Soybean Sweet
Amount Amount Amount
100g Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
ed fatty acids 1.251
Vitamin A (IU) 214
fatty acids (g)
rice, white, long-grain, regular, raw
wheat, hard red winter
potato, flesh and skin, raw
soybeans, green, raw
sweet potato, raw, unprepared
Early Rose variety seed tuber with sprouts
Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids, of which the most prevalent are
solanine and chaconine. Solanine is also found in other plants in the family Solanaceae, which
includes such plants as the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
and tobacco (Nicotiana) as well as the potato, eggplant, and tomato. This toxin affects the
nervous system, causing weakness and confusion.
These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are, in general, concentrated in its
leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits. Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase
glycoalkaloid content within the tuber; the highest concentrations occur just underneath the
skin. Cooking at high temperatures —over 170 °C (340 °F)— partly destroys these. The
concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans.
Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and death;
however, poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely. Light exposure causes greening from
chlorophyll synthesis, thus giving a visual clue as to areas of the tuber that may have become
more toxic; however, this does not provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid
accumulation can occur independently of each other. Some varieties of potato contain greater
glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and
sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar.
The toxic fruits produced by mature potato plants
Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw). However, when these
commercial varieties turn green, even they can approach concentrations of solanine of
1000 mg/kg (1000 ppmw). In normal potatoes, analysis has shown solanine levels may be as
little as 3.5% of the breeders' maximum, with 7–187 mg/kg being found. While a normal
potato has 12–20 mg/kg of glycoalkaloid content, a green tuber contains 250–280 mg/kg, and
green skin 1500–2200 mg/kg.
The U.S. National Toxicology Program suggests that the average American consume at most
12.5 mg/day of solanine from potatoes (the toxic dose is actually several times this, depending
on body weight). Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the
University of Missouri, notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have
occurred in the U.S. in the last 50 years, and most cases involved eating green potatoes or
drinking potato-leaf tea.
GROWTH AND CULTIVATION
Potato field in Fort Fairfield, Maine
Potatoes grown in a tall bag are common in gardens as they increase potato yield and minimize
the amount of digging required at harvest
Potatoes are generally grown from seed potatoes – these are tubers specifically grown to be
disease free and provide consistent and healthy plants. To be disease free, the areas where seed
potatoes are grown are selected with care. In the USA this restricts production of seed potatoes to
only 15 states out of the 50 states that grow potatoes. These locations are selected for their
cold hard winters that kill pests and long sunshine hours in the summer for optimum growth. In
the UK, most seed potatoes originate in Scotland in areas where westerly winds prevent aphid
attack and thus prevent spread of potato virus pathogens. Potato growth has been divided into
five phases. During the first phase, sprouts emerge from the seed potatoes and root growth
begins. During the second, photosynthesis begins as the plant develops leaves and branches. In
the third phase stolons develop from lower leaf axils on the stem and grow downwards into the
ground and on these stolons new tubers develop as swellings of the stolon. This phase is often
(but not always) associated with flowering. Tuber formation halts when soil temperatures reach
27 °C (81 °F); hence potatoes are considered a cool-season crop. Tuber bulking occurs during
the fourth phase, when the plant begins investing the majority of its resources in its newly
formed tubers. At this stage, several factors are critical to yield: optimal soil moisture and
temperature, soil nutrient availability and balance, and resistance to pest attacks. The final phase
is maturation: The plant canopy dies back, the tuber skins harden, and their sugars convert to
New tubers may arise at the soil surface. Since exposure to light leads to greening of the skins
and the development of solanine, growers are interested in covering such tubers. Commercial
growers usually address this problem by piling additional soil around the base of the plant as it
grows ("hilling", or in British English "earthing up"). An alternative method used by home
gardeners and smaller-scale growers involves covering the growing area with organic mulches
such as straw or with plastic sheets.
Correct potato husbandry can be an arduous task in some circumstances. Good ground
preparation, harrowing, plowing, and rolling are always needed, along with a little grace from the
weather and a good source of water. Three successive plowings, with associated harrowing and
rolling, are desirable before planting. Eliminating all root-weeds is desirable in potato
cultivation. In general, the potatoes themselves are grown from the eyes of another potato and
not from seed. Home gardeners often plant a piece of potato with two or three eyes in a hill of
mounded soil. Commercial growers plant potatoes as a row crop using seed tubers, young plants
or microtubers and may mound the entire row. Seed potato crops are 'rogued' in some countries
to eliminate diseased plants or those of a different variety from the seed crop.
Potatoes are sensitive to heavy frosts, which damage them in the ground. Even cold weather
makes potatoes more susceptible to bruising and possibly later rotting, which can quickly ruin a
large stored crop.
At harvest time, gardeners usually dig up potatoes with a long-handled, three-prong "grape" (or
graip), i.e., a spading fork, or a potato hook, which is similar to the graip but with tines at a 90°
angle to the handle. In larger plots, the plow is the fastest implement for unearthing potatoes.
Commercial harvesting is typically done with large potato harvesters, which scoop up the plant
and surrounding earth. This is transported up an apron chain consisting of steel links several feet
wide, which separates some of the dirt. The chain deposits into an area where further separation
occurs. Different designs use different systems at this point. The most complex designs use vine
choppers and shakers, along with a blower system or "Flying Willard" to separate the potatoes
from the plant. The result is then usually run past workers who continue to sort out plant
material, stones, and rotten potatoes before the potatoes are continuously delivered to a wagon or
truck. Further inspection and separation occurs when the potatoes are unloaded from the field
vehicles and put into storage.
Immature potatoes may be sold as "new potatoes" and are particularly valued for taste. These are
often harvested by the home gardener or farmer by "grabbling", i.e. pulling out the young tubers
by hand while leaving the plant in place.
Potatoes are usually cured after harvest to improve skin-set. Skin-set is the process by which the
skin of the potato becomes resistant to skinning damage. Potato tubers may be susceptible to
skinning at harvest and suffer skinning damage during harvest and handling operations. Curing
allows the skin to fully set and any wounds to heal. Wound-healing prevents infection and water-
loss from the tubers during storage. Curing is normally done at relatively warm temperatures 50
to 60 °C (122 to 140 °F) with high humidity and good gas-exchange if at all possible.
Storage facilities need to be carefully designed to keep the potatoes alive and slow the natural
process of decomposition, which involves the breakdown of starch. It is crucial that the storage
area is dark, well ventilated and for long-term storage maintained at temperatures near 4 °C
(39 °F). For short-term storage before cooking, temperatures of about 7 to 10 °C (45 to 50 °F)
On the other hand, temperatures below 4 °C (39 °F) convert potatoes' starch into sugar, which
alters their taste and cooking qualities and leads to higher acrylamide levels in the cooked
product, especially in deep-fried dishes—the discovery of acrylamides in starchy foods in 2002
has led to many international health concerns as they are believed to be possible carcinogens and
their occurrence in cooked foods are currently under study as possible influences in potential
Under optimum conditions possible in commercial warehouses, potatoes can be stored for up to
ten to twelve months. When stored in homes, the shelf life is usually only a few weeks. If
potatoes develop green areas or start to sprout, these areas should be trimmed before using. 
Trimming or peeling green areas are inadequate to remove copresent toxins, and such potatoes
are no longer suitable as animal food.
Commercial storage of potatoes involves several phases: drying of surface moisture; a wound
healing phase at 85% to 95% relative humidity and temperatures below 25 °C (77 °F); a staged
cooling phase; a holding phase; and a reconditioning phase, during which the tubers are slowly
warmed. Mechanical ventilation is used at various points during the process to prevent
condensation and accumulation of carbon dioxide.
The world dedicated 18.6 million hectares in 2010 for potato cultivation. The average world farm
yield for potato was 17.4 tonnes per hectare, in 2010. Potato farms in the United States were the
most productive in 2010, with a nationwide average of 44.3 tonnes per hectare. United
Kingdom was a close second.
New Zealand farmers have demonstrated some of the best commercial yields in the world,
ranging between 60 to 80 tonnes per hectare, some reporting yields of 88 tonnes potatoes per
There is a big gap among various countries between high and low yields, even with the same
variety of potato. Average potato yields in developed economies ranges between 38–44 tonnes
per hectare. The two largest producers of potato, China and India which accounted for over a
third of world's production in 2010, had yields of 14.7 and 19.9 tonnes per hectare
respectively. The yield gap between farms in developing economies and developed economies
represents an opportunity loss of over 400 million tonnes of potato, or an amount greater than
2010 world potato production. Potato crop yields are determined by factors such as the crop
breed, seed age and quality, crop management practices and the plant environment.
Improvements in one or more of these yield determinants, and a closure of the yield gap, can be a
major boost to food supply and farmer incomes in the developing world.
Organically grown Russet Burbanks
While there are close to 4000 different varieties of potato, it has been bred into many standard
or well-known varieties, each of which has particular agricultural or culinary attributes. In
general, varieties are categorized into a few main groups, such as russets, reds, whites, yellows
(also called Yukons) and purples—based on common characteristics. Around 80 varieties are
commercially available in the UK. For culinary purposes, varieties are often differentiated by
their waxiness. Floury, or mealy (baking) potatoes have more starch (20–22%) than waxy
(boiling) potatoes (16–18%). The distinction may also arise from variation in the comparative
ratio of two potato starch compounds: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose, a long-chain
molecule, diffuses from the starch granule when cooked in water, and lends itself to dishes where
the potato is mashed. Varieties that contain a slightly higher amylopectin content, a highly
branched molecule, help the potato retain its shape when boiled.
The European Cultivated Potato Database (ECPD) is an online collaborative database of potato
variety descriptions, updated and maintained by the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency within
the framework of the European Cooperative Programme for Crop Genetic Resources Networks
(ECP/GR)—which is organised by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
Popular varieties (cultivars) include:
Red La Soda
Up to date
Potato variety "Blue Swede"
The blue potato (or purple potato) originated in South America. It has purple skin and flesh,
which becomes blue once cooked. It has a slight whitish scab that seems to be present in all
samples. The variety, called "Cream of the Crop", has been introduced into Ireland and has
A mutation in the varieties' P locus causes production of the antioxidant anthocyanin.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED POTATOES
Genetic research has produced several genetically modified varieties. 'New Leaf', owned by
Monsanto Company, incorporates genes from Bacillus thuringiensis, which confers resistance to
the Colorado potato beetle; 'New Leaf Plus' and 'New Leaf Y', approved by US regulatory
agencies during the 1990s, also include resistance to viruses. McDonald's, Burger King, FritoLay, and Procter & Gamble announced they would not use genetically modified potatoes, and
Monsanto published its intent to discontinue the line in March 2001.
Waxy potato varieties produce two main kinds of potato starch, amylose and amylopectin, the
latter of which is most industrially useful. The German chemical company BASF created the
Amflora potato, which has been modified to contain antisense against the enzyme that drives
synthesis of amylose, namely granule bound starch synthase. This resulting potato almost
exclusively produces amylopectin, and thus is more useful for the starch industry. In 2010, the
European Commission cleared the way for 'Amflora' to be grown in the European Union for
industrial purposes only—not for food. Nevertheless, under EU rules, individual countries have
the right to decide whether they will allow this potato to be grown on their territory. Commercial
planting of 'Amflora' was expected in the Czech Republic and Germany in the spring of 2010,
and Sweden and the Netherlands in subsequent years. Another GM potato variety developed
by BASF is 'Fortuna' which was made resistant to late blight by adding two resistance genes,
blb1 and blb2, which originate from the Mexican wild potato Solanum bulbocastanum. In
October 2011 BASF requested cultivation and marketing approval as a feed and food from the
EFSA. In 2012 GMO development in Europe was stopped by BASF.
In 2010, a team of Indian scientists announced they had developed a genetically modified potato
with 35 to 60% more protein than non-modified potatoes. Protein content was boosted by adding
the gene AmA1 from the grain amaranth. They also found 15 to 25% greater crop yields with
these potatoes. The researchers expected that a key market for the GM potato would be the
developing world, where more than a billion people are chronically undernourished.
Main article: List of potato diseases
A potato ruined by late blight
The historically significant Phytophthora infestans (late blight) remains an ongoing problem in
Europe and the United States. Other potato diseases include Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia,
black leg, powdery mildew, powdery scab and leafroll virus.
Insects that commonly transmit potato diseases or damage the plants include the Colorado potato
beetle, the potato tuber moth, the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), the potato aphid,
beetleafhoppers, thrips, and mites. The potato root nematode is a microscopic worm that thrives
on the roots, thus causing the potato plants to wilt. Since its eggs can survive in the soil for
several years, crop rotation is recommended.
During the crop year 2008, many of the certified organic potatoes produced in the United
Kingdom and certified by the Soil Association as organic were sprayed with a copper
pesticide to control potato blight (Phytophthora infestans). According to the Soil
Association, the total copper that can be applied to organic land is 6 kg/ha/year.
According to an Environmental Working Group analysis of USDA and FDA pesticide residue
tests performed from 2000 through 2008, 84% of the 2,216 tested potato samples contained
detectable traces of at least one pesticide. A total of 36 unique pesticides were detected on
potatoes over the 2,216 samples, though no individual sample contained more than 6 unique
pesticide traces, and the average was 1.29 detectable unique pesticide traces per sample. The
average quantity of all pesticide traces found in the 2,216 samples was 1.602 ppm. While this is a
very low value of pesticide residue, it is the highest amongst the 50 vegetables analyzed.
Potatoes are used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen, or akvavit.
They are also used as food for domestic animals.
Potato starch is used in the food industry as, for example, thickeners and binders of soups
and sauces, in the textile industry, as adhesives, and for the manufacturing of papers and
Maine companies are exploring the possibilities of using waste potatoes to obtain
polylactic acid for use in plastic products; other research projects seek ways to use the
starch as a base for biodegradable packaging.
Potato skins, along with honey, are a folk remedy for burns in India. Burn centers in India
have experimented with the use of the thin outer skin layer to protect burns while
Potatoes (mainly Russets) are commonly used in plant research. The consistent
parenchyma tissue, the clonal nature of the plant and the low metabolic activity provide a
very nice "model tissue" for experimentation. Wound-response studies are often done on
potato tuber tissue, as are electron transport experiments. In this respect, potato tuber
tissue is similar to Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and Escherichia
coli: they are all "standard" research organisms.
Various potato dishes
Potatoes are prepared in many ways: skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or
without. The only requirement involves cooking to swell the starch granules. Most potato dishes
are served hot, but some are first cooked, then served cold, notably potato salad and potato
Common dishes are: mashed potatoes, which are first boiled (usually peeled), and then mashed
with milk or yogurt and butter; whole baked potatoes; boiled or steamed potatoes; French-fried
potatoes or chips; cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried (home fries);
grated into small thin strips and fried (hash browns); grated and formed into dumplings, Rösti or
potato pancakes. Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven
and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided they are covered in ventilated plastic
wrap to prevent moisture from escaping; this method produces a meal very similar to a steamed
potato, while retaining the appearance of a conventionally baked potato. Potato chunks also
commonly appear as a stew ingredient.
Potatoes are boiled between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on size and type, to become soft.
Peruvian cuisine naturally contains the potato as a primary ingredient in many dishes, as around
3,000 varieties of this tuber are grown there. Some of the more notable dishes include boiled
potato as a base for several dishes or with ají-based sauces like in Papa a la Huancaína or ocopa,
diced potato for its use in soups like in cau cau, or in Carapulca with dried potato (papa seca).
Smashed condimented potato is used in causa Limeña and papa rellena. French-fried potatoes are
a typical ingredient in Peruvian stir-fries, including the classic dish lomo saltado.
Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product traditionally made by Quechua and Aymara communities
of Peru and Bolivia, and is known in various countries of South America, including Peru,
Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. In Chile's Chiloé Archipelago, potatoes are the main ingredient of
many dishes, including milcaos, chapaleles, curanto and chochoca. In Ecuador, the potato, as
well as being a staple with most dishes, is featured in the hearty locro de papas, a thick soup of
potato, squash, and cheese.
Fish and chips
In the UK, potatoes form part of the traditional staple fish and chips. Roast potatoes are
commonly served with a Sunday roast, and mashed potatoes form a major component of several
other traditional dishes such as shepherd's pie, bubble and squeak, and bangers and mash. New
potatoes are often cooked with mint and served with a little melted butter.
The Tattie scone is a popular Scottish dish containing potatoes. Colcannon is a traditional Irish
food made with mashed potato, shredded kale or cabbage, and onion; champ is a similar dish.
Boxty pancakes are eaten throughout Ireland, although associated especially with the north, and
in Irish diaspora communities; they are traditionally made with grated potatoes, soaked to loosen
the starch and mixed with flour, buttermilk and baking powder. A variant eaten and sold in
Lancashire, especially Liverpool, is made with cooked and mashed potatoes.
Bryndzové halušky is the Slovakian national dish, made of a batter of flour and finely grated
potatoes that is boiled to form dumplings. These are then mixed with regionally varying
In Northern and Eastern Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries, Poland, Russia, Belarus
and Ukraine, newly harvested, early ripening varieties are considered a special delicacy. Boiled
whole and served un-peeled with dill, these "new potatoes" are traditionally consumed with
Baltic herring. Puddings made from grated potatoes (kugel, kugelis, and potato babka) are
popular items of Ashkenazi, Lithuanian, and Belarussian cuisine.
A baked potato served with butter
In Western Europe, especially in Belgium, sliced potatoes are fried to create frieten, the original
French fried potatoes. Stamppot, a traditional Dutch meal, is based on mashed potatoes mixed
In France, the most notable potato dish is the Hachis Parmentier, named after Antoine-Augustin
Parmentier, a French pharmacist, nutritionist, and agronomist who, in the late 18th century, was
instrumental in the acceptance of the potato as an edible crop in the country. The pâté aux
pommes de terre is a regional potato dish from the central Allier and Limousin regions.
In the north of Italy, in particular, in the Friuli region of the northeast, potatoes serve to make a
type of pasta called gnocchi. Similarly, cooked and mashed potatoes or potato flour can be
used in the Knödel or dumpling eaten with or added to meat dishes all over central and Eastern
Europe, but especially in Bavaria and Luxembourg. Potatoes form one of the main ingredients in
many soups such as the vichyssoise and Albanian potato and cabbage soup. In western Norway,
komle is popular.
A traditional Canary Islands dish is Canarian wrinkly potatoes or papas arrugadas. Tortilla de
patatas (potato omelete) and patatas bravas (a dish of fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce) are
near-universal constituent of Spanish tapas.
French fries served with a hamburger
Poutine: Fried potatoes, cheese curds, and gravy
In the United States, potatoes have become one of the most widely consumed crops and thus
have a variety of preparation methods and condiments. French fries and often hash browns are
commonly found in typical American fast-food burger joints and cafeterias. One popular favorite
involves a baked potato with cheddar cheese (or sour cream and chives) on top, and in New
England "smashed potatoes" (a chunkier variation on mashed potatoes, retaining the peel) have
great popularity. Potato flakes are popular as an instant variety of mashed potatoes, which
reconstitute into mashed potatoes by adding water, with butter or oil and salt to taste. A regional
dish of Central New York, salt potatoes are bite-size new potatoes boiled in water saturated with
salt then served with melted butter. At more formal dinners, a common practice includes taking
small red potatoes, slicing them, and roasting them in an iron skillet. Among American Jews, the
practice of eating latkes (fried potato pancakes) is common during the festival of Hanukkah.
A traditional Acadian dish from New Brunswick is known as poutine râpée. The Acadian
poutine is a ball of grated and mashed potato, salted, sometimes filled with pork in the center,
and boiled. The result is a moist ball about the size of a baseball. It is commonly eaten with salt
and pepper or brown sugar. It is believed to have originated from the German Klöße, prepared by
early German settlers who lived among the Acadians.
Poutine, by contrast, is a hearty serving of French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot gravy.
Tracing its origins to Quebec in the 1950s, it has become a widespread and popular dish
In India, the most popular potato dishes are aloo ki sabzi, batata vada, and samosa, which is
spicy mashed potato mixed with a small amount of vegetable stuffed in conical dough, and deep
fried. Potatoes are also a major ingredient as fast food items, such as aloo chaat, where they are
deep fried and served with chutney. In Northern India, alu dum and alu paratha are a favorite part
of the diet; the first is a spicy curry of boiled potato, the second is a type of stuffed chapati.
A dish called masala dosa from South India is very notable all over India. It is a thin pancake of
rice and pulse paste rolled over spicy smashed potato and eaten with sambhar and chutney. Poori
in south India in particular in Tamil Nadu is almost always taken with smashed potato masal.
Other favorite dishes are alu tikki and pakoda items.
Vada pav is a popular vegetarian fast food dish in Mumbai and other regions in the Maharashtra
Aloo posto (a curry with potatoes and poppy seeds) is immensely popular in East India,
especially Bengal. Although potatoes are not native to India, it has become a vital part of food all
over the country especially North Indian food preparations. In Tamil Nadu this tuber acquired a
name based on its appearance 'urulai-k-kizhangu' (
In East Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, rice is by far the predominant starch crop, with
potatoes a secondary crop, especially in China and Japan. However, it is used in northern China
where rice is not easily grown, with a popular dish being 青椒土豆丝 (qīng jiāo tǔ dòu sī), made
with green pepper, vinegar and thin slices of potato. In the winter, roadside sellers in northern
China will also sell roasted potatoes. It is also occasionally seen in Korean and Thai cuisines.
The potato has been an essential crop in the Andes since the pre-Columbian Era. The Moche
culture from Northern Peru made ceramics from earth, water, and fire. This pottery was a sacred
substance, formed in significant shapes and used to represent important themes. Potatoes are
represented anthropomorphically as well as naturally.
During the late 19th century, numerous images of potato harvesting appeared in European art,
including the works of Willem Witsen and Anton Mauve. Van Gogh's 1885 painting "The
Potato Eaters" portrays a family eating potatoes.
Invented in 1949 and marketed and sold commercially by Hasbro in 1952, Mr. Potato Head is an
American toy that consists of a plastic potato and attachable plastic parts such as ears and eyes to
make a face. It was the first toy ever advertised on television.
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