The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. Potato may be applied to both the plant and the edible tuber. Potatoes have become a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply. Potatoes are the world's fourth-largest food crop, following maize (corn), wheat, and rice. Tubers produce Glycoalkaloid in small amounts. If green sections (sprouts and skins) of the plant are exposed to light the tuber can produce a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health. In the Andes, where the species is indigenous, some other closely related species are cultivated. Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated approximately 7,000–10,000 years ago.
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