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Biochemical and molecular control of cold-induced sweetening in potatoes

Abstract

The benefits of being able to process potatoes directly into chips or fries from cold storage (2 to 4 C) include less shrinkage, retention of dry matter, decreased disease loss, extended marketability, and the elimination of the need for dormancy-prolonging chemicals. Unfortunately at low temperature, potato tubers undergo a phenomenon known as cold-induced sweetening where the rate of conversion of starch to reducing sugars (i.e., glucose and fructose) is accelerated. As raw potatoes are sliced and cooked in oil at high temperature, the accumulated reducing sugars react with free amino acids in the potato cell forming unacceptably brown- to black-pigmented chips or fries via a non-enzymatic, Maillard-type reaction. Potatoes yielding these unacceptably colored products are generally rejected for purchase by the processing plant. All commercial potato cultivars presently used for the production of potato chips and fries accumulate excess free reducing sugars when exposed to cold stress. If a “cold-processing potato” was available, energy savings would be realized in potato-growing regions where outside storage temperatures are cool. In regions where outside temperatures are moderately high, increased refrigeration costs may occur. This expense would be offset, however, by removal of the need to purchase dormancy-prolonging chemicals, by a decreased need for disease control and by improvement of long-term tuber quality. The primary goal of this review is to describe recent research of a biochemical and molecular nature that relates to the underlaying mechanisms regulating post harvest, cold-induced sweetening in potato tubers. No attempt was made to outline the extensive research conducted on the genetic manipulation of carbon metabolism between starch and free sugars during photosynthesis and/or during potato development in relation to source/sink interactions.

Resumen

Los beneficios que se obtienen al procesar papas fritas o en houjuelas de manera directa, que hayan estado almacenadas en cámaras frigoríficas a temperaturas que van de 2 a 4°C, incluyen menor encogimiento, retención de sustancia seca, disminución de enfermedades, un amplio potencial para el mercado y la eliminación de la necesidad de prolongar el estado de dormancia mediante químicos. Desgraciadamente, a bajas temperatoras, los tubérculos de la papa sufren un fenómeno conocido como indución al endulzamiento en frío, según el cual se acelera el rango de conversión al almidón para reducir azúcares (ej., glucosa y fructosa). Cuando se rebanan las papas crudas y se cocinan en aceite a altas temperaturas, los azúcares reductores acumulados reaccionan liberando aminoácidos en la célula de la papa, formando inaceptables pigmentaciones marrones a negras en las papas en hojuelas o fritas, debido a una reacción no enzimática del tipo Maillard. Las plantas procesadoras, generalmente no aceptan comprar papas con estos colores. Todos los cultivares comerciales de papa usados para la producción de hojuelas y papas fritas acumulan excedentes de azúcares reductores libres al ser expuestos al estrés del frío. Si una “papa procesada en frío” está disponible, la energía ahorrada puede ser aprovechada en aquellas regiones de crecimiento de papa donde las temperaturas de almacenamiento exterior son bajas. En las regiones donde las temperaturas son ligeramente altas, pueden incrementarse los costos de refrigeración. Sin embargo, este gasto se compensaría al eliminarse la necesidad de comprar químicos que producen dormancia, y los que sirven para controlar enfermedades y mejorar la calidad del tubérculo en el largo plazo. La meta primaria de esta revisión es describir la investigación reciente de naturaleza bioquímica y molecular relacionada con los mecanismos que regulan la poscosecha y el endulzamiento inducido en frío en los tubérculos de papa. No se ha hecho ningún esfuerzo para explicar la investigatión realizada sobre la manipulación genética del metabolismo del carbono entre el almidón y los azúcares libres durante la fotosíntesis y/o durante desarrollo de la papa respecto a las interacciones de la fuente.

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Abbreviations

Aclnv:

acid invertase

AGPase:

adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase

ATP-PFK:

adenosine triphosphate dependent fructose-6-phosphate 1-phosphotransferase

FBPase:

fructose-l,6-bisphosphatase

Fru-1,6-P2 :

fructose-l,6-bisphosphate

Fru-2,6-P2 :

fractose-2,6-bisphos-phate

Fru-6-P:

fructose-6-phosphate

GFP:

glucose forming potential

Glc-l-P:

glucose-1-phosphate

Glc-6-P:

glucose-6-phosphate

PEP:

phos-phoenolpyruvate

PK:

pyruvate kinase

PPi:

inorganic pyrophosphate

PPi-PFK:

pyrophosphate dependent fructose-6-phosphate 1-phosphotransferase

QTL:

quantitative trait locus

RT-PCR:

reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction

UDP-Glc:

uridine diphosphate glucose

UGPase:

uridine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase

SPS:

sucrose phosphate synthase

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Correspondence to Joseph R. Sowokinos.

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University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experimental Station Scientific Journal Series No: 001210061.

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Sowokinos, J.R. Biochemical and molecular control of cold-induced sweetening in potatoes. Am. J. Pot Res 78, 221–236 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02883548

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Additional key words

  • Potato
  • cold-sweetening
  • gene expression
  • allele
  • enzyme
  • sugar