Ripe potato juice is an excellent cleaner of silks, cottons and woollens. The water in which potatoes have been boiled can be used to clean silver and to restore a shine to furniture. Emollient and cleansing face masks are made from potatoes, these are used to treat hard, greasy and wrinkled skins.The potato is a good source of biomass. When boiled with weak sulphuric acid, potato starch is changed into glucose and this can then be fermented into alcohol.
The tubers contain very small quantities of atropine alkaloids. One property of these alkaloids is the reduction of digestive secretions, including acids produced in the stomach. The root and leaf diffusates of growing potato plants possess cardiotonic activity. Dried ethanol extracts of above-ground parts of the plant show marked hypotensive and myotropic action and a spasmolytic and soothing effect on intestinal musculature. Ethanol extracts of the leaves have antifungal properties, active against Phytophthora infestans. The leaves, seeds, and tuber extracts show antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.The leaves are antispasmodic.
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Potatoes are a cool weather crop, the optimal temperature for growth being 15 - 20°C for most cvs. Growth of the tubers is best at soil temperature of 17 - 20°C, with usually no tubers formed above 32°C. The top-growth of this species is not frost hardy, though the tubers will tolerate a few degrees of frost if left in the ground. Potatoes are very widely grown throughout the world for their edible tubers, there are many named varieties. The potato is one of the main staple foods, it is very high yielding (50 tonnes or more per hectare have been achieved in some European countries, though at the other extreme yields of little more than 2 tonnes have been achieved in parts of Africa), stores well and can be available all year round. The potato probably arose through cultivation from several wild species that can still be found growing in S. America. Many of these wild species can be used in breeding programmes for improved disease resistance etc. Does well when grown after a crop of rye, Secale cereale. Grows well with legumes, sweet corn, cabbage, marigolds, horse radish, flax, dead nettles, sainfoin and nasturtiums. Grows badly with tomatoes, sunflowers, members of the cucumber family and raspberries.Potatoes should not be stored with apples because the ethylene gas released by the apples will cause the potatoes to go soft and develop a sour taste.
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