Solanum tuberosum L.

Last updated: 3 June 2016

Scientific Name

Solanum tuberosum L.  


Solanum andigenum Juz. & Bukasov, Solanum aquinas Bukasov, Solanum chiloense Berthault Solanum chilotanum Hawkes, Solanum cultum Berthault, Solanum diemii Brücher, Solanum fonckii Phil., Solanum kesselbrenneri Juz. & Bukasov, Solanum leptostigma Juz. & Buk., Solanum molinae Juz., Solanum oceanicum Brücher, Solanum ochoanum Lechn., Solanum sanmartiniense Brucher, Solanum subandigena Hawkes, Solanum tascalense Brucher, Solanum zykinii Lechn. [1][2]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Ubi kentang [2]
English Common potato, irish potato, european potato, potato, spud, white potato [2]
China Ma ling shu, tuddu, yangyu [2]
India Aalu (Bengali); bataka, batata (Gujerati); alu, salooalu (Hindi); urulaikkilangnku (tamil) [2]
Indonesia Kentang [2]
Nepal Alu, aloo [2]
Thailand Man-farang, man alu [2]
Laos Man falangx [2]
Myanmar Ah lou, ar loo [2]
Philippines Papas, patatas [2]
Cambodia Damlong barang [2]
Vietnam Cay khoai tay, khoai tay [2]
Peru Papa comun [2]
Korea Gamsa [2]
Japan Jagaimo [2]
Saudi Arabia Batates [2]
Turkey Patates [2]
Ukraine Kartoplja [2]
Morocco Batata, btata [2]
Austria Aardafel, ardappel, bramburi, erdapfel [2]
Croatia Krumpir [2]
Africa Aartappel [2]
Republic czech Brambor [2]
Hungary Burgoynya [2]
Iceland Kartafla [2]
Poland Ziemniaki [2]
Denmark Kartoffel, kartofler [2]
Netherland Aardapel, aardappelen [2]
Finland Peruna, potaati [2]
France Pomme de terre, patata [2]
German Herdapfel, inkatruffel, kartoffel, kartoffeln, kautiffel, kettiffel, krumbirn, krumbiir, tartuffli [2]
Sweeden Jordparon, kartoffel, potatis, potat Tartuffe [2]
Switzerland Ardoffel, mailinterra, tartuffel, tiffel, truffle [2]
Hawaii Uala Kahiki [3][4][5]
Albania Patate [2]
Spain Papa, patata [2]
Portugal Batata, batata da terra semelha, batateira [2]
Italy Pomi di terre, patta, tartufolo [2].

Geographical Distributions

Solanum tuberosum is a plant native to South America. Today it is planted throughout the globe as food crop. [3]

Botanical Description

Solanum tuberosum is a member of the Solanaceae family. It is annual, sprawling plant with weak stems and can reach up to 1 m high. The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 ovate leaflets. The petioles and petiolules are angular in section and sometimes winged. The inflorescence is a leaf-opposed cymose panicle with up to 8 flowers.  The flowers are lavender to white with yellow stamens. The tubular calyx is 5 mm long and the calyx lobes 5–8 cm long, lanceolate, acuminate. The corolla is subrotate to rotate-pentagonal. The fruits are 1.5–2 cm in diameter, globular, greenish and sparsely produced in cultivation. [6]


It is planting using seeds, small tubers, pieces of larger tubers or tissue cultures. The growing period is 3-5 months. [7]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data


No documentation


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

Symptoms of solanine toxicity are initially characterized by hyperthermia and a cluster of symptoms that mimic acute gastroenteritis, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, which may progress to haemorrhagic injury of the GIT. Other signs and symptoms from severe solanine poisoning are neurological effects, such as headache, dizziness, mental confusion, hallucination, and seizures. Mild bradycardia or hypotension may result from the weak cardiac activity of solanine. [8]

The onset of symptoms after ingestion of plants containing solanine may take 4 to 24 hours. Hyperthermia may be an early sign of solanine toxicity. Neurological effects often predominante in the initial clinical presentation and may include headache, apathy, dizziness, drowsiness, that may progress to mental confusion, hallucinations, and seizures in severe exposures. Excitement, delirium, and hallucination are particularly likely in young children. [8]

The neurological symptoms seem to be related to the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of these glycoalkaloids. Such severe effects are seldom seen. In fact, the risk arisen if potatoes that have been exposed to light (often green peel) or have sprouted are eaten in greater amounts. Light stimulates the synthesis of the glycosides and sprouts show much higher contents than the tuber. Alpha-chaconine and α-solanine are teratogenic in one or more animals. However, an association between the consumption of blighted potatoes by pregnant women and the incidence of suspected malformations like spina bifida could not be substantiated. [3][8][9]

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

Uncooked sprout and sun-greened skin. [3]


Solanine glycoalkaloids [3]. Alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine was found to be reversible inhibitors of human plasma cholinesterase. However, solanine toxicity is not classically associated with cholinergic syndromes. This is probably due to the fact that solanine is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract rendering its elimination rapid. They are considered corrosive to the gastrointestinal tract, acutely toxic upon absorption due to several mechanisms. [6][9][10]

All parts of potato can contain two major glycoalkaloids, α-solanine and α-chaconine. Normal potatoes contain small amounts of the alkaloids in the peel but none in the flesh. Food processing does not significantly alter the glycoalkaloid content. Boiling removed <3.5% of the main glycoalkaloids in potatoes, whereas microwaving decreases the concentrations of these compounds by about 15%. Significant degradation of these compounds occured at temperatures above 170°C, and deep frying at 150°C does not significantly alter the concentrations of these glycoalkaloids. [6][9][10]

Solanine content in boiled peeled potatoes range from 0 to 9 mg/100g fresh weight. Because of the bitter taste of the alkaloids, solanine poisoning is rare except in times of famine when stressed or green potatoes are consumed. Normal food processing methods do not remove substantial amounts of glycoalkaloids from potatoes. Boiling of sprouted potatoes allows the diffusion of glycoalkaloids from the sprouts to the tuber and therefore increases the glycoalkaloid contents of the tuber. [6][9][10]

Risk management

Potatoes form a staple food for society. To avoid the incidence of solanine poisoning, those involved in the preparation of food must be wary of the distinct features of the presence of these compounds in potatoes. Knowledge of proper storage to potatoes should be known to housewives, food handlers and cooks. Excess formation of the alkaloids is favoured when potatoes are damaged or are improperly stored with exposure to light (ultra-violet radiation) or when they are sun-greened or allowed to sprout. There can be a 10-fold increase in the amount of solanine present in the tuber and the flesh of the potato when any of these conditions exists. A characteristic bitter taste may accompany solanine ingestion. [6][9][10]


Intravenous hydration, antiemetics and electrolyte replacement in severe gastrointestinal effects, particularly in children. CNS effects are managed with supportive measures and typically resolve without sequelae. [3]

Death has occurred from eating green parts of potatoes. To prevent poisoning from occurring from sunburned tubers, the green spots should be removed before cooking. Discard spoiled potatoes. [11]

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Solanum tuberosum L.  [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2016 June 6]. Available from:
  2. Lim TK. Edible medicinal and non-medicinal plants. Volume 9, modified stems, roots, bulbs. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2014; p. 13-22.
  3. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. 2nd ed. New York: Springer; 2007.
  4. Salaman RN. The history and social influence of the potato. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985; p. 137–138.
  5. Panda H. Medicinal plants cultivation & their uses. New Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press, 2000; p. 563.
  6. Barceloux DG. Medical toxicology of natural substances: Food, fungi, medicinal herbs, plants and venomous animals. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2012; p. 78
  7. Ong HC. Vegetables for health and healing. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd, 2008; p. 136.
  8. Brent J, Wallace K, Burkhart KK, Phillips SD, Donovan JW. Critical care toxicology: Diagnosis and management of the critically poisoned patient. St Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Elservier; 2005.
  9. Brimer L. Chemical Food Safety, Wallingford: CABI, 2011; p. 112
  10. Brandenberger H, Maes RA, editors. Analytical Toxicology for Clinical, Forensic and Pharmaceutical Chemists. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997; p. 639.
  11. Moore B. Growing with gardening: A twelve-month guide for therapy, recreation and education. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: UNC Press, 1989; p. 218.