2017 Volume 67 Issue 1 Pages 52-61
In addition to the nutritionally important components such as starches, vitamins and minerals, storage roots and leaves of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) contains several components with health-promoting functions. Of these, the functionalities of carotenoids, anthocyanins and caffeoylquinic acids have been well established by in vitro and in vivo experiments. Several sweetpotato cultivars containing high levels of these components have been developed in Japan; e.g., ‘Ayamurasaki’, which has high amounts of anthocyanin in its storage roots. To further improve the content and also to change the composition of these functional components, the identification of the genes involved in their biosynthesis and genetic modification of the biosynthetic pathway has been attempted. In this review, we summarize the present status of the research and breeding for these functional components, and we discuss the future prospects for improving sweetpotato functionality.