Possibilities of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] value chain upgrading as revealed by physico-chemical composition of ten elites landraces of Benin
Sweet potato is one of the most important food security promoted root crops in the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the crop is still neglected and underutilized in Benin Republic. To establish baseline data for its better utilization for upgrading its value chain, 10 selected local varieties (01 cream, 02 white, 03 yellow, and 04 orange flesh-colored) were compared for their macro-nutritional composition assessed using standard Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) procedures and spectrophotometry methods. The results indicate that sweet potato dry matter, protein, fiber, and ash content ranged from 46.11 to 25.9%, 4.09 to 1.97%, 1.81 to 3.00%, and 4.70 to 2.56%, respectively and orange flesh cultivars were found very rich. Pearson correlation analysis of variables revealed that dry mater content is positively correlated with carbohydrate and energy values, but negatively correlated with ash and fiber content, while starch content is strongly correlated with fiber content. Principal component analysis allowed us to classify the sweet potato varieties into 03 varietal groups among which Group 2 (05 varieties) exhibited rich fiber, ash, and protein contents and may be recommended for infant foods formulations. These results constitute important orientation for sweet potato processing chain organization in Benin and for the establishment of future nutrition and breeding programme.
Key words: Benin, sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, nutritional composition, orange flesh cultivar, value chain.