Selenium Enriched Potatoes

The association "Kartoffelnetz Lüneburger Heide" has pushed forward the production of potatoes, that are enriched with selenium. This essential trace element, with various positive effects on human health, is being applied through a special fertilizer in a region of Northern Germany. From early autumn 2005 onwards, the selenium rich potatoes will be marketed in the premium segment of the third largest German retail chain EDEKA. These potatoes should meet a high demand because they take advantage of the functional food and wellness trends among consumers through their added health benefit.

Germany is a region with a dearth of naturally occurring selenium. This is reflected by low concentrations in conventionally grown potatoes. Using the selenium containing NPK-fertilizer "Kemistar" from the company Kemira GrowHow, however, the concentration in the harvested potatoes can be increased to 50 microgram/kg fresh weight. While the additional cost for this fertilizer lies about 20 Euro/ha, higher sales revenues are expected to recoup this investment. The varieties used to produce selenium rich potatoes are Princess, Linda and Milva.

According to tests performed by Kemira GrowHow, the process of brown discolouration is slowed down in selenium rich potatoes because selenium protects against oxidation. The potatoe processing industry could take advantage of this effect. The baking and storage properties could also be improved.

Consuming a serving of selenium rich potatoes can satisfy 15% of the recommended daily intake in selenium for adults, which is situated at aproximative 70 microgram.