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Assessing extraction methods and diversity of anthocyanins from purple-fleshed sweet potatoes grown in cooler climates

By Alexandra A. Bennett, Kai Fan, Gaurav D Moghe

Posted 24 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.23.262808

Anthocyanins are economically valuable phytochemicals of significant relevance to human health. Multiple fruit and vegetable sources for industrial-scale anthocyanin purification exist, however, each source has distinct anthocyanin levels and profiles conferred by modifications to the central anthocyanidin core. In this study, we assessed three purple-fleshed and one orange-fleshed cultivars of sweet potato, with the goal of studying their anthocyanin yield and diversity when this warm-weather crop is grown in cooler, northern latitudes. Comparison of multiple anthocyanin extraction methods revealed acidified ethanol extraction of lyophilized roots as the optimal method, producing a high, average yield of ~800 mg anthocyanins/100g dry weight. Mass spectrometric analysis of sweet potato extracts identified eighteen high-confidence anthocyanins, all derived from peonidin and cyanidin cores, contributing to over 90% of the total anthocyanin signal. The concentrations of different anthocyanins were variable between the three purple-fleshed cultivars, while low anthocyanin accumulation was observed in the orange-fleshed cultivar. Further assessment of the untargeted high resolution mass spectrometry data using MS/MS molecular networking revealed existence of low-abundance anthocyanins with delphinidin and pelargonidin cores, as well as over 250 peaks comprising of potential anthocyanins and flavonoids. These results provide a comprehensive insight into anthocyanin yields of purple-fleshed sweet potato grown in the northern latitudes and reveal the large diversity of anthocyanins and flavonoids in this popular crop. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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