Massey experts speak at inaugural International Potato Symposium

Two Massey University lecturers spoke at the inaugural International Potato Symposium early this month.

The symposium, jointly organised by Massey University and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, was held online on 9 December. Speakers and participants from more than 20 countries, including New Zealand, China, Peru, Canada, and the United States, shared their thoughts and findings.

The symposium was focussed on presenting new knowledge on potato chemistry, nutrition and potato processing and how the potato can play an important role in food security and food sustainability in the next 30 years. Potatoes hold a strong influence in the food and beverage industry, due to their reputation as environmentally sustainable and a healthier plant-based food.

Associate Professor Jaspreet Singh, from Massey’s School of Food and Advanced Technology, says the annual Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technology symposia are timely, as the potato processing industry is looking for new ways to create healthy processed products.

He said:

“This symposium will shape the future research direction for this important food source. The purpose of the symposium is to feature high-quality advanced research and knowledge contributed by various potato research groups around the world. Introducing the symposium has encouraged researchers from academia and the potato processing industry to submit their research on the chemistry, nutrition and technology of tuber crops for presentation.”

Top issues from healthy potato products to food sustainability and food waste utilisation were discussed at the symposium, through presentations and panel discussions. Some of these included the development of new and disruptive technologies and processes, potato protein as an alternative protein source, healthy potato products, utilisation of potato industry by-products and ‘waste streams’, which contribute towards the United Nations sustainability development goals.

One important presentation was based on “China’s potato staple food policy,” which highlighted the need for sustainable and balanced food utilisation. China is the world’s largest producer of potatoes.

Dr Lovedeep Kaur, from the School of Food and Advanced Technology, and Associate Professor Singh, have published two editions of the textbook Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technology, and have recently been invited to publish the third edition. Theirs is the only book published on the subject so far.

Associate Professor Singh said the symposium was well received by the food science community around the world.

“Participants from several countries joined the symposium to attend presentations by reputed speakers. The symposium highlights were the panel discussion on the future of potato processing and how the potato can contribute to achieving global food security and sustainability, keeping in view the changing consumer trends around health, taste and convenience. It was also great to see the enthusiasm and quality of the presentations by young scientists. Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technologies 2021 Young Scientist Awards were presented at the end of symposium.

“This symposium fills a gap by providing an opportunity for potato researchers and industry professionals to update their knowledge on potato processing for better future and business opportunities.”

Source:  Massey University

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog