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Potato starch is starch extracted from potatoes. The cells of the root tubers of the potato plant contain starch grains (leucoplasts). To extract the starch, the potatoes are crushed; the starch grains are released from the destroyed cells. The starch is then washed out and dried to powder.
Potato starch contains typical large oval spherical granules; their size ranges between 5 and 100 μm. Potato starch is a very refined starch, containing minimal protein or fat. This gives the powder a clear white colour, and the cooked starch typical characteristics of neutral taste, good clarity, high binding strength, long texture and a minimal tendency to foaming or yellowing of the solution.
Potato starch contains approximately 800 ppm phosphate bound to the starch; this increases the viscosity and gives the solution a slightly anionic character, a low gelatinisation temperature (approximately 140 °F or 60 °C) and high swelling power.
These typical properties are used in food and technical applications.
Starch derivatives are used in many recipes, for example in noodles, wine gums, cocktail nuts, potato chips, hot dog sausages, bakery cream and instant soups and sauces, in gluten-free recipes in kosher foods for Passover and in Asian cuisine. In pastry, e.g. sponge cake, it is used to keep the cake moist and give a soft texture. It is also occasionally used in the preparation of pre-packed grated cheese, to reduce sweating and binding.
Other examples are helmipuuro a porridge made from monodisperse grains of potato starch and milk, papeda, the Moluccan community in the Netherlands use potato starch to make papeda, soul food of the Moluccan Archipelago (East-Indonesia). On the Moluccan islands they use sago flour to make the original papeda. Papeda is also eaten by the Papuan people of New Guinea.
There are many types of potatoes. For the production of potato starch, potato varieties with high starch content (high under water weight) and high starch yields are selected. Recently, a new type of potato plant was developed that only contains one type of starch molecule: amylopectin, the waxy potato starch. Waxy starches, after starch gelatinisation, retrograde less during storage.
The cultivation of potatoes for starch mainly takes place in Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, France, Denmark and Poland, but also in Sweden, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Canada and India.