Biodiversity is considered a critical measure of the agricultural health of the world. Not only does
increased biodiversity contribute to nutrient production and consumption, but it acts as a safeguard
against food shortages due to pests and diseases by spreading the risk. Biodiversity can improve
dietary diversity in such a way to ultimately contribute to improved food and nutrition security.
As a result biodiversity is often highlighted in global discussions related to food and nutrition
security. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are highly biodiverse food crops, with more than
4000 different cultivars grown globally. The crop is sometimes considered as part of the vegetable
component of food baskets, but it is mainly added to meals as a starch because potatoes have a
high starch content and are thus high in energy. However, significant differences in the nutritional
content (including micronutrient composition) of different potato cultivars have been reported in
many countries. It is therefore proposed that specific cultivars could potentially contribute more
to critical nutrients required in the diet of countries at risk of malnutrition. The nutritional profile
(macronutrients and minerals) of 11 potato cultivars cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa was determined
and the contribution which these different potatoes could make to the diet, and consequently
to food and nutrition security, is discussed. The results showed that significant differences
are found in the nutritional content between the different cultivars. Significant differences (p <
0.001) were found in macronutrients such as protein and fat as well as micronutrients such as
copper, phosphorus and potassium. These results indicate the potentially beneficial role which a
biodiverse range of crops such as potatoes, could play in the food and nutrition security of developing
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