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Basics of Potato Starch, its Uses, Nutrient Contents, and Benefits

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Potato starch is a complex carb derived from crushed potatoes that release a milky liquid that is concentrated with starch. The starch produced is washed and dried, resulting in a white powdery substance with a neutral flavour and excellent thickening capabilities.

Compared to other starches like cornstarch, potato starch has lower amylose content, high binding strength, a minimal tendency to foaming, good clarity, long texture, and yellowing of the solution. It comprises of standard large oval, spherical granules with a size range between 5 to 100 μm. It is a refined starch that has very minimal fat or protein. It is a highly versatile product that can be used in domestic cooking and commercial food production in order to enhance food's texture.

To produce potato starch, the raw material first arrives at the receiving unit, where after weighing, the potato is brought to the storage pool. After going through the receiving unit, it goes through a water transportation channel, where the entire process is executed with water. Later, the potatoes go via a screw de-stone machine in order to be washed by a flow of water.

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Afterwards, the Potatoes go through a starch rasper which releases all the starch granules by opening all the tuber cells. After the process, the released starch milk gets moved to a de-sanding process using a fibre pump. The mix is later transported to the third and fourth stage centrifugal sieves, in which each sieve uses a fibre pump and a de-foam pump.

After dewatering, the centrifugal sieve extracts starch milk that undergoes a 16-stage refining hydro-cyclone. The product is pumped to a dewatering machine's inlet vacuum tank, where the starch is dried per commercial requirements and separated from the coarse particles.

Potato starch is used primarily as a Thickening agent in a wide range of recipes due to its water-absorbing effects. But its qualities can be diminished in extreme heat that causes the starch to break down and not be able to absorb moisture. It is used in products like sauces, soups and gravies, pie fillings, stews, and casseroles.

The starch is also a Gluten-free alternative for flour, making it ideal for baking applications, including bread variations, muffins, and gluten-free flour mixes. It also finds application in frying food as it is an apt coating for fried food, including fish, chicken, or vegetables, before frying. The starch gives the food a crispy and golden layer.

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Supplements of potato starch can offer several benefits, such as improving gut and metabolic health. It can enhance SCFA production. Potato starch contains about 60 percent resistant starch that goes via the upper digestive tract travelling through the large intestine, where bacteria is fermented.

The process is suitable for digestive health as it produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetate, butyrate, and propionate, that help make glucose and fats. SCFAs also help maintain gut health by strengthening the intestinal barrier and controlling mucus production and inflammation. Potato starch has other significant benefits, such as controlling blood sugar and insulin response while boosting overall immune function.

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