UW leads effort on processed potatoes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison will lead a national effort to improve the quality and safety of processed potatoes.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says a $3.7 million grant will support efforts to reduce a carcinogen in french fries and potato chips know as acrylamide.

The research involves scientists from 10 universities and USDA labs from around the nation. They’ll work, over the next four years, to develop potatoes that produce less acrylamide when cooked.

Researchers will look for potato varieties with low levels of reducing sugars and an amino acid, which combine to produce the carcinogen when potatoes are fried at high temperatures. They’ll also hunt for molecular markers to use in breeding new varieties.