Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 40:214 | Cite as

Quantitation of oxalates in corms and shoots of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott under drought conditions

  • Carla S. S. GouveiaEmail author
  • José F. T. Ganança
  • Vincent Lebot
  • Miguel Â. A. Pinheiro de Carvalho
Original Article


Oxalate (calcium oxalate) accumulation in taro plants (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) impacts their nutritional quality, producing acridity, causing lips, mouth and throat tissues swelling if consumed fresh. The oxalate content is related to photosynthesis, through the glycolate–glyoxylate oxidation pathway. The plant’s photosynthetic rate usually increases in non-stressed conditions. Differences in photosynthetic rate are indirectly related to the chlorophyll content index. Protein accumulation and starch variation are also important traits to understand the taro oxalate synthesis caused by drought and how they affect corm quality. The purpose of this study was to quantitate oxalates in taro corms and shoots submitted to drought conditions and to evaluate how stress response can affect the nutritional quality of taro whole-plant. Seven taro genotypes from Madeira, Canaries and Pacific Community (SPC) collections were grown in greenhouse conditions and submitted to different watering regimes for drought tolerance screening. Corms and shoots were harvested and evaluated for oxalates (soluble, insoluble and total), chlorophyll content index (CCI), crude protein, starch, starch solubility in water and starch swelling power. All accessions had very high calcium oxalate content. Drought-tolerant genotypes showed good osmotic response by oxalate precipitation and mobilization through shoot to corm tissues, photosynthesis adaptation by increase of CCI, protein accumulation, and very low starch hydrolysis. Sensitive-drought genotypes showed less mobilization of calcium oxalate, decreased photosynthetic rate and protein synthesis, and slight increase of starch hydrolysis. Variation in taro oxalate content is consistent and significantly correlated with the photosynthetic rate, carbohydrate metabolism and protein synthesis.


Carbohydrate metabolism Chlorophyll content index Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott Drought tolerance Photosynthesis Soluble and insoluble oxalates 





Analysis of variance


Chlorophyll content index


Calcium oxalate


Potassium oxalate


Principal component analysis


Pacific community


Soluble oxalates (oxalic acid)


Starch swelling power


Starch solubility in water


Total oxalates



The authors acknowledge the Programa Operacional da Região Autónoma da Madeira—PO Madeira 14–20 (grant number M1420-01-0145-FEDER-000011, CASBio). The first author wishes to acknowledge the Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação Tecnologia e Inovação (ARDITI) for the financial support grant number M1420-09-5369-FSE-000001.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISOPlexis GenebankUniversity of MadeiraFunchalPortugal
  2. 2.ICAAM, University of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  3. 3.CIRAD-BIOSPort VilaVanuatu

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