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Potential of Sweetpotato in Reducing Vitamin A Deficiency in Africa

Orange-fleshed roots contained higher total carotenoid and b-carotene content than white- and cream- fleshed lines, and all trans-b-carotene predominated for more than 80%. Carotenoids from orange-fleshed sweetpotato are highly vitamin A active and their consumption in Africa where vitamin A deficiency is prevalent should be encouraged. Twelve weeks after planting, the yield and amount of pro-vitamin A present in roots of orange-fleshed cultivars evaluated were high enough to provide adequate dietary pro-vitamin A and suggest the start of piecemeal harvesting. Incorporation of flour made from orange-fleshed sweetpotato roots into buns, chapatis, and mandazis significantly enriched the products in pro-vitamin A. Results of this study suggest that increased consumption of orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes in either fresh or processed form can contribute in alleviating dietary deficiency of vitamin A.