Scientist hits purple patch with nutritional new potato

Bringing a new purple potato to the market was an achievement but now a Northern Ireland scientist has reached the final of a major invention competition with his spud.

Paul Watts from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Loughgall, Co Armagh, is the man behind Purple Magic, a new variety of potato with high anthocyanin content.

Mr Watts said: “In the early 2000s medical and nutritional research began to show there might be significant health benefits from eating fruit and vegetables with high levels of anthocyanins. And in 2003 we made a series of crosses with coloured heritage varieties to try and boost the levels of these antioxidants in new, high- yielding and disease-resistant varieties. The crosses yielded a rainbow of colour in the 2,000-plus seedlings the institute produced and they had better yields and disease resistance than the parents.”

The Purple Magic potato has reached the finals of Invent 2016.

The winners will be named on September 29.


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