Non-invasive identification of potato varieties and prediction of the origin of tuber cultivation using spatially offset Raman spectroscopy.
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High starch content, simplicity of cultivation, and high productivity make potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) a staple in the diet of people around the world. On average, potatoes are composed of 83% water and 12% carbohydrates, and the remaining 4% includes proteins, vitamins, and other trace elements. These proportions vary depending on the type of potato and location where they were cultivated. At the same time, the chemical composition determines the nutritional value of potato tubers and can be proved using various wet chemistry and spectroscopic methods. For instance, gravity measurements, as well as several different colorimetric assays, can be used to investigate the starch content. However, these approaches are indirect, often destructive, and time- and labor-consuming. This study reports on the use of Raman spectroscopy (RS) for completely non-invasive and non-destructive assessment of nutrient content of potato tubers. We also show that RS can be used to identify nine different potato varieties, as well as determine the origin of their cultivation. The portable nature of Raman-based identification of potato offers the possibility to perform such analysis directly upon potato harvesting to enable quick quality evaluation. Graphical abstract.