British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Discovery of a low-glycaemic index potato and relationship with starch digestion in vitro

Kai Lin Eka1 c1, Shujun Wanga1 p1, Les Copelanda1 and Jennie C. Brand-Millera2

a1 Department of Plant and Food Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

a2 School of Molecular Bioscience, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia


Potatoes are usually a high-glycaemic index (GI) food. Finding a low-GI potato and developing a screening method for finding low-GI cultivars are both health and agricultural priorities. The aims of the present study were to screen the commonly used and newly introduced cultivars of potatoes, in a bid to discover a low-GI potato, and to describe the relationship between in vitro starch digestibility of cooked potatoes and their in vivo glycaemic response. According to International Standard Organisation (ISO) guidelines, seven different potato cultivars were tested for their GI. In vitro enzymatic starch hydrolysis and chemical analyses, including amylose content analysis, were carried out for each potato cultivar, and correlations with the respective GI values were sought. The potato cultivars had a wide range of GI values (53–103). The Carisma cultivar was classified as low GI and the Nicola cultivar (GI = 69) as medium GI and the other five cultivars were classified as high GI according to ISO guidelines. The GI values were strongly and positively correlated with the percentage of in vitro enzymatic hydrolysis of starch in the cooked potatoes, particularly with the hydrolysis percentage at 120 min (r 0·91 and P <0·01). Amylose, dietary fibre and total starch content was not correlated with either in vitro starch digestibility or GI. The findings suggest that low-GI potato cultivars can be identified by screening using a high-throughput in vitro digestion procedure, while chemical composition, including amylose and fibre content, is not indicative.

(Received November 09 2012)

(Revised August 23 2013)

(Accepted August 23 2013)

(Online publication October 08 2013)

Key Words:

  • Glycaemic index;
  • Starch;
  • In vitro digestion;
  • Carbohydrates


c1 Corresponding author: K. L. Ek, fax +61 2 9351 6022, email

p1 Present address: Key Lab of Food Nutrition and Safety, Department of Education of China, School of Food Engineering and Biotechnology, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin, China


  Abbreviations: GI, glycaemic index