The vegetable tuber plant Helianthus tuberosus has reserved attention the last years because of the high content of the multi functional and healthy prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Reported effects are: proliferation of bifidiobacteria and reduction of detrimental bacteria in the colon, reduction of toxic metabolites and detrimental enzymes, prevention of constipation, protection of liver function, stimulating effect on calcium uptake and synthesis of B-vitamins, reduction of serum cholest erol, reduction of blood pressure, and anti cancer effects. The FOS content is investigated for several varieties under central European conditions. However, FOS content in clones adapted to the north European area has to be investigated. The first proble m for discussion in this project is to investigate cultivation possibilities for Nordic and arctic clones under Norwegian climate conditions. Further, external and sensory quality as well as FOS content will be investigated for the most suited varieties f or cultivation under long day conditions. The effects of latitude, cultivation practice, storage and processing on quality will be investigated. Tubers processed by different dehydrating / drying methods will be tested for health effects by an animal (pi g) trial to investigate health effects in general and effects on sensory meat quality.
The practical goal for farmers and industry will be to find better varieties of high quality tubers suited for the different latitudes in Norway. The project is inter disciplinary and involves areas within the sciences of plant, animal nutrition and medicine, sensory and chemical quality. The project was initiated by the Bioforsk and Nettverk Jordskokk, Solrot AS and ScandTech AS (processing industry) in collaboration with Matforsk AS - Nofima Food, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and the feed industry partner Felleskjøpet. Scientific partners from Denmark and Finland attend the project.