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How to augment starch production in plants

22.09.2004


The issue (31 august) of the US scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the most prestigious in the world, carries an article on important aspects related to a molecule (ADPglucose) which is required for plants to produce starch.



In order to assess the importance of this research of the Public University of Navarre, two fundamental factors have to be taken into account: one is the annual production of starch derived from the main vegetables and estimated as approximately a thousand million tonnes; secondly, the fact that recently starch has been used as raw material for the production de biofuels, biodegradable plastics, etc. Thus, it is highly probable that the international scientific community have taken note of the discovery described in this journal and will have a significant repercussion in multiple industrial sectors, specially those involved in the search for alternative energies and the protection of the environment.

The article describes the location of the ADPglucose molecule in the plant cells which produce a reserve substance called starch. It was thought, until now, that the ADPglucose was located only in the compartment where the cell produces starch; the chloroplast.


However, and this is the contribution of the research team from the Agricultural Institute of Arrosadía, it has been demonstrated for the first time that ADPglucose is manufactured outside the chloroplast. This fact appears in the very title of the article: "Most of ADPglucose linked to starch biosynthesis occurs outside the chloroplast in source leaves".

The discovery provides a great clue for the improvement of varieties. Once the enzyme responsible for ADPglucose production is known, enormous advances are made in the race to obtain vegetable varieties which produce large quantities of starch. In fact, based on this finding, the research group in question is currently aiming its investigations to augmenting the production of starch in the potato by means of stimulating ADPglucose production.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com

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