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Improving Potato Varieties

30.06.2011
Potato tubers used to manufacture potato chips and fries must meet strict quality control guidelines. One of the most important of these is a requirement that fried products are uniformly light colored after cooking.

Storing potatoes at low temperatures results in an accumulation of sugars. These sugars undergo chemical reactions during cooking that give rise to dark-colored chips and fries that may contain a high amount of a compound found in carbohydrate-rich foods cooked at high temperatures. Health concerns have been raised about the consumption of this compound, called acrylamide.

According to scientists at the Inner Mongolian University, University of Wisconsin - Madison, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, reducing the activity of a single protein allowed for low-temperature storage of potato tubers without an accumulation of sugars. This approach was used successfully with four potato varieties currently in commercial production. The research was funded by Hatch funds to J.J. L.W. and was partially supported by the Cultivation Fund of the Key Scientific and Technical Innovation Project, Ministry of Education of China and National Key Technology R&D Program to R.F.Z.

In each case, when the targeted protein’s activity was greatly reduced, tuber quality after low temperature storage was improved. This data defines a specific genetic target for improvement of potatoes that will benefit consumers and producers by improving tuber quality and healthiness of potato products.

Furthermore, spoilage-related potato waste will likely be reduced since the modified tubers could be stored at cooler temperatures than those from conventional potato varieties.

Greenhouse and field evaluations have indicated that this method does not have negative effects on plant growth and yield. However, large-scale field trials will be necessary to validate these initial observations, according to UW-Madison scientist Jiming Jiang.

Full results from this study can be found in the 2011 May-June issue of the journal Crop Science.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at href=https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/articles/51/3/981.

Crop Science is the flagship journal of the Crop Science Society of America. Original research is peer-reviewed and published in this highly cited journal. It also contains invited review and interpretation articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in crop science. For more information, visit www.crops.org/publications/cs.

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives. For more information, visit www.crops.org.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org
http://www.crops.org

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