Skip to main content

Compositional and enzymatic changes associated with the sugar-end defect in Russet Burbank potatoes


This study was initiated to determine the starchsugar composition and the activities of relevant enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism in Russet Burbank (cv.) potatoes exhibiting the sugar-end defect. The frequency of sugar-end tubers was increased by applying a single, transient, moisture-deficit stress period following tuberization. The following properties were unique to sugar-end tubers compared to normal tuber tissue. (1) Starch and total solids decreased markedly while glucose content increased 15-fold, (2) The concentration of Suc was markedly lower, (3) Pi was slightly but significantly increased, (4) The activities of UGPase and Susy decreased nearly 3 and 2-fold, respectively, (5) The activity of AGPase decreased 50%, (6) The ratio of STPLase to AGPase shifted over 3-fold in favor of starch mobilization, (7) Basal AcInv activity (assayed in the presence of inhibitor) increased 7-fold during storage, (8) Tuber Glc concentration showed a better correlation to basal Aclnv activity than to total Aclnv activity (inhibitor destroyed), (9) Kinetic analysis suggested that the level and/or effectiveness of the Aclnv inhibitor was decreased in the sugar-end tuber tissue. These results are discussed in relation to metabolic changes which occur in converting a starch storing tuber to one primarily involved with starch mobilization.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



acid invertase


ADP-Glc pyrophosphorylase


ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid






glucose 1-phosphate




4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-l-piperazineethane-sulfonic acid


reduced form of nicotinamide aderdne dinucleotide


oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


inorganic phosphate


inorganic pyrophosphate






sucrose phosphate synthase


starch phosphorylase


sucrose synthase


trichloroacetic acid


UDP-Glc pyrophosphorylase


Yellow Springs Instrument

Literature Cited

  • ap Rees, T. and S. Morrell. 1990. Carbohydrate metabolism in developing potatoes. Am Potato J 67:835–847.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashwell, G. 1957. Colorimetric analysis of sugars.In: Methods of Enzymology. Vol. HI, S.P. Colwick and N.O. Kaplan (eds.) Academic Press, New York, pp. 73–105.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bradford, M.M. 1976. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Davies, H.V., R.A. Jefferies, and L. Scobie. 1989. Hexose accumulation in cold-stored tubers of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.): The effects of water stress. J Plant Physiol 134:471–475.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dixon, M. and E.C. Webb. 1964. Enzyme kinetics.In: Enzymes. M. Dixon and E.C. Webb (eds) Academic Press, New York, pp. 54–166.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dwelle, R.P. 1985. Photosynthesis and photoassimilate partitioning.In: Potato Physiology. P.H. Li (ed.) Academic Press, New York, pp. 35–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eldredge, E.P., Z.A. Holmes, A.R. Mosley, C.C. Shock, and T.D. Stieber. 1996. Effects of transitory water stress on potato tuber stem-end reducing sugar and fry color. Am Potato J 73:517–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geigenberger, P., R. Reimholz, M. Geiger, L. Merlo, V. Canale, and M. Stitt. 1997. Regulation of sucrose and starch metabolism in potato tubers in response to short-term water deficit. Planta 201:502–518.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, L.M., R. Reimholz, R. Schroder, T.H. Nielsen, and M. Stitt. 1996. The onset of sucrose accumulation in cold-stored potato tubers is caused by an increased rate of sucrose synthesis and coincides with low levels of hexose-phosphates, an activation of sucrose phosphate synthase and the appearance of a new form of amylase. Plant, Cell and Environment 19:1223–1237.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Iritani, W.M. 1981. Growth and preharvest stress and processing quality of potatoes. Am Potato J 58:71–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Isherwood, F.A. 1973. Starch-sugar interconversion inSolanum tuberosum. Phytochem 12:2579–2591.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kincaid, D.C., D.T. Westermann, and T.J. Trout. 1993. Irrigation and soil temperature effects on Russet Burbank quality. Am Potato J 70:711–723.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kopka, J., N.J. Provart, and B. Müller-Röber. 1997. Potato guard cells respond to drying soil by a complex change in the expression of genes related to carbon metabolism and turgor regulation. Plant J 11:871–882.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Krause, K.-P., L. Hill, R. Reimholz, R.H. Nielsen, U. Sonnewald, and M. Stitt. 1998. Sucrose metabolism in cold-stored potato tubers with decreased expression of sucrose phosphate synthase. Plant, Cell and Environment 21:285–299.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Krause, A. and H. Marschner. 1984. Growth rate and carbohydrate metabolism of potato tubers exposed to high temperatures. Potato Res 27:297–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lafta, A.M. and J.H. Lorenzen. 1995. Effect of high temperature on plant growth and carbohydrate metabolism in potato. Plant Physiol 109:637–643.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Levy, D. 1986. Varietal differences in the response of potatoes to repeated short periods of water stress in hot climates. Potato Res 26:315–321.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lulai, E.C. and P.H. Orr. 1980. Quality-testing facilities for grower use at the potato research Laboratory. Am Potato J 57:622–628.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakae, T. 1971. Multiple forms of uridine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase fromSalmonella typhimurium. J Biol Chem 246:4404–4411.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Owings, T.R. W.M. Iritani, and C.W. Nagel. 1978. Respiration rates and sugar accumulation in normal and moisture stressed Russet Burbank potatoes. Am Potato J 55:211–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Percheron, F. 1962. Dosage colorimetrique du fructose et des fructofuranosides par l’acide thiobarbiturique. Compt Rend Ac Sc 255:2521–2522.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pressey, R. 1966. Separation and properties of potato invertase and invertase inhibitor. Arch Biochem Biophys 113:667–674.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Reimholz, R., P. Geigenberger, and M. Stitt. 1994. Sucrose-phosphate synthase is regulated via metabolites and protein phosphorylation in potato tubers, in a manner analogous to the enzyme in leaves. Planta 192:480488.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rufty, T.W., Jr. and S.C. Huber. 1983. Changes in starch formation and activities of sucrose phosphate synthase and cytoplasmic fructose-l,6-bisphosphatase in response to source-sink alterations. Plant Physiol 72:474–480.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Shock, C.C, Z.A. Holmes, T.D. Stieber, E.P. Eldredge, and P. Zhang. 1993. The effect of timed water stress on quality, total solids and reducing sugar content of potatoes. Am Potato J 70:227–241.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Shock, C.C, E.B.G. Feibert, and L.D. Saunders. 1998. Potato yield and quality response to deficit irrigation. HortSci 33:658–659.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sowokinos, J.S. 1990. Stress-induced alterations in carbohydrate metabolism.In: Molecular Biology of the Potato. M.E. Vayda and W. Park (eds.) C.A.B. International, Wallingford, UK pp. 137–158.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sowokinos, J.R., E.C Lulai, and J.A. Knoper. 1985. Translucent tissue defects inSolanum, tuberosum L. I. Alterations in amyloplast membrane integrity, enzyme activities, sugars, and starch content. Plant Physiol 78:489–494.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sowokinos, J.R., J.P. Spychalla, and S.L. Desborough. 1993. Pyrophosphorylases inSolanum tuberosum L. IV. Purification, tissue localization, and physicochemical properties of UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase. Plant Physiol 101:1073–1080.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Varns, J.L. and J.R. Sowokinos. 1974. A rapid micro-starch quantitation method for potato callus and its application with potato tubers. Am Potato J 51:383–392.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wolf, S., A. Marani, and J. Rudich. 1990. Effects of temperature and photoperiod on assimilate partitioning in potato plants. Annals of Botany 66:513–520.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolf, S., A. Marani, and J. Rudich. 1991. Effect of temperature on carbohydrate metabolism in potato plants. J Expt Bot 42:619–625.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Minnesota Scientific Journal Series No. 981210038.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sowokinos, J.R., Shock, C.C., Stieber, T.D. et al. Compositional and enzymatic changes associated with the sugar-end defect in Russet Burbank potatoes. Am. J. Pot Res 77, 47–56 (2000).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Additional Key Words

  • Potato
  • moisture-deficit
  • sugar-ends
  • fry color
  • sugars
  • starch
  • enzymes
  • phosphate