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Suppression of the vacuolar invertase gene delays senescent sweetening in chipping potatoes

Wiberley‐Bradford, Amy E, Bethke, Paul C
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2018 v.98 no.1 pp. 354-360
beta-fructofuranosidase, color, fructose, frying, genes, glucose, potato chips, potatoes, reducing sugars, storage time, sucrose, sugar content, tubers, vacuoles, United States
BACKGROUND: Potato chip processors require potato tubers that meet quality specifications for fried chip color, and color depends largely upon tuber sugar contents. At later times in storage, potatoes accumulate sucrose, glucose, and fructose. This developmental process, senescent sweetening, manifests as a blush of color near the center of the fried chip, becomes more severe with time, and limits the storage period. Vacuolar invertase (VInv) converts sucrose to glucose and fructose and is hypothesized to play a role in senescent sweetening. To test this hypothesis, senescent sweetening was quantified in multiple lines of potato with reduced VInv expression. RESULTS: Chip darkening from senescent sweetening was delayed by about 4 weeks for tubers with reduced VInv expression. A strong positive correlation between frequency of dark chips and tuber hexose content was observed. Tubers with reduced VInv expression had lower hexose to sucrose ratios than controls. CONCLUSION: VInv activity contributes to reducing sugar accumulation during senescent sweetening. Sucrose breakdown during frying may contribute to chip darkening. Suppressing VInv expression increases the storage period of the chipping potato crop, which is an important consideration, as potatoes with reduced VInv expression are entering commercial production in the USA. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry