Differences between the Bud End and Stem End of Potatoes in Dry Matter Content, Starch Granule Size, and Carbohydrate Metabolic Gene Expression at the Growing and Sprouting Stages
Bailin Liu, Guodong Zhang, Agnes Murphy, David De Koeyer, Helen Tai, Benoit Bizimungu, Huaijun Si, and Xiu-Qing Li
J. Agric. Food Chem.
Abstract: Potatoes usually have the tuber bud end dominance in growth during tuber bulking and in tuber sprouting, likely using carbohydrates from the tuber stem end. We hypothesized that the tuber bud end and tuber stem end coordination in carbohydrate metabolism gene expression is different between the bulking dominance and sprouting dominance of the tuber bud end. After comparing the growing tubers at harvest from a green vine and the stage that sprouts just started to emerge after storage of tubers at room temperature, we found the following: (1) Dry matter content was higher in the tuber stem end than the tuber bud end at both stages. (2) The starch granule size was larger in the tuber bud end than in the tuber stem end. (3) The tuber bud end had higher gene expression for starch synthesis but a lower gene expression of sucrose transporters than the tuber stem end during tuber growing. (4) The tuber stem end at the sprouting stage showed more active gene expression in both starch degradation and resynthesis, suggesting more active export of carbohydrates, than the tuber bud end. The results indicate that the starch accumulation mechanism in the tuber bud end was different between field growing and post-harvest sprouting tubers and that tubers already increased dry matter and average starch granule sizes in the tuber bud end prior to the rapid growth of sprouts.