The high water content in maca (Lepidium meyenii W.) roots combined with the damage produced during or after harvest makes them vulnerable to attack by enzymes and microorganisms. Although starch degradation has been extensively studied, in maca roots there is a paucity of research regarding the starch reserves. In this paper, parameters of starch degradation are shown to be related to the action of amylolytic enzymes during storage at room temperature. Over the course of three weeks, the starch and protein content, soluble sugar, total amylolytic activity, and alpha- and beta-amylase activity were measured. In addition, the integrity of starch granules was observed by scanning electron microscopy. Despite the evidence of dehydration, there were no significant differences (p <= 0.5) in the total starch content or in the activities of alpha- and beta-amylase. After the third week the roots remained suitable for consumption. The results indicate a postharvest latency that can lead to sprout or to senescence, depending on the environmental conditions. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.