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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Toward Complete Control of Acrylamide Formation in Potato Chips and French Fries

Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
(1) Develop lines of potato cultivar Atlantic in which the genes for aparagine synthetase (ASy) and vacuolar acid invertase (VInv) are suppressed.

(2) Quantify asparagine and reducing sugars in cold-stored tubers of these lines.

(3) Measure acrylamide in potato chips made from these lines and relate to asparagine and reducing sugar content in raw tubers.

(4) Evaluate the growth of suppressed lines and identify potential agronomic problems.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Develop silenced lines: The RNA interference (RNAi) approach will be used for potato gene silencing. We will transform our existing lines of Atlantic that have strong suppression of the VInv gene with silencing constructs that target the two potato ASy genes (2). These lines will be characterized with regard to expression of the three silenced genes. Individuals with a range of ASy gene silencing will be selected for detailed analysis.

Biochemical characterization of tubers: Tuber sucrose, glucose and fructose contents will be quantified by HPLC. Tuber asparagine content will be measured with the L-asparagine/L-glutamine assay kit (Megazyme). Acrylamide content of fried chips will be measured in the Department of Bacteriology, UW Madison.

Evaluation of plant growth: Transformed lines will be grown in greenhouses using standard procedures to produce tubers for biochemical analysis. Growth characteristics of plants and tuber number, weight and shape will be documented for each line and for Atlantic controls. Differences between controls and silenced lines may indicate potential limits on agronomic performance that will be investigated further in subsequent years.


3.Progress Report:

Two approaches were used to develop lines of potato cultivar Atlantic in which the genes for asparagine synthetase (ASy) and vacuolar acid invertase (VInv) are suppressed. In the first approach, separate ribonucleic acids (RNA) interference silencing constructs were used for VInv and for ASy, with the ASy construct targeting a conserved region found in the two potato asparagine synthetase genes. A total of 70 plants were generated with this approach and a minimum of 24 tested positive for reduced expression of VInv and ASy. The second approach was to target the two ASy genes separately using two different silencing sequences. A total of 120 plants were generated using this approach, and a minimum of 41 tested positive for reduced expression of VInv and ASy. Tissue culture plantlets were generated for each line and transplanted to soil. We are evaluating the growth of suppressed lines in the greenhouse to identify potential agronomic problems that might develop from VInv suppression or ASy suppression. For most plants, growth and development appear to be normal. Some plants are showing abnormal growth, but to date we have not been able to correlate these differences with the degree of silencing of either the ASy genes or the VInv gene. We anticipate that the first set of tubers will be available in late 2012. We will quantify asparagine and reducing sugars in cold-stored tubers of these lines, and acrylamide content in chips made from those tubers.

This research relates to Objectives 1), Develop lines of potato cultivar Atlantic in which the genes for asparagine synthetase (ASy) and vacuolar acid invertase (VInv) are suppressed; 2), Quantify asparagine and reducing sugars in cold-stored tubers of these lines; 3), Measure acrylamide in potato chips made from these lines and relate to asparagine and reducing sugar content in raw tubers; and 4), Evaluate the growth of suppressed lines and identify potential agronomic problems.


Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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