Potatoes, one of the world's five major food crops, are eaten all over the world. The portion we normally eat is their "tuber," which not only tastes good but also contains lots of components essential to the human body. In that sense, potatoes are a foodstuff filled with the power of nature.
On the other hand, portions other than their tuber have not been really investigated as to their nutritional benefits. Moreover, from the perspective of industrial waste reduction for the purpose of zero emissions1), the "peel" of potatoes removed in their processing should be utilized effectively in new ways. Based on our corporate DNA that drives us to seek the "utilization of untapped food resources," we at Calbee explore new uses of potato peels so that we can harvest the unknown power of nature from potatoes.
The composition and benefits of potato peels are still poorly understood, so we apply all our skills in exploring that. The job is like treasure hunting, so to speak. To be more specific, we extract components from potato peels and conduct activity assessments of the extracted material. If any activity is detected, we fractionate2) and purify the extracted material in order to identify the active components3).
In this way, by combining various experiment techniques such as extraction, fractionation, purification, compound identification and activity assessment, we examine the composition of potato peels and what kind of benefits are offered by their components.
Now we are going to introduce one of our past case studies. In general, plants have more polyphenol in their outer skin than on the inside. That is because it protects them against ultraviolet rays and insects. In fact, potato peels are also rich in polyphenol content. So, we evaluated its component composition and detected high levels of components reportedly beneficial to human skin.
Consequently, assuming that potato peels might have a favorable influence on skin, we prepared Potato Peel Extract (PPE) and examined its impact on normal human skin fibroblasts 4). As a result, we discovered that PPE increases the production of "type 1 collagen5)" that is critical for keeping skin firm and resilient.
Our research revealed for the first time that potato peels have potential benefits for human skin and protect skin against aging. Consequently, we are determined to pursue product development based on the fruits of our research, including the findings we have mentioned.
Although we still have to overcome many hurdles before we can come up with a marketable product, we will keep pursuing our research so that we can harvest the unknown powers of nature from potatoes and deliver its benefits to our customers.