Submitted to: Valley Potato Grower Magazine
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2004
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Sabba, R.P., Lulai, E.C. 2005. Biochemical and physical changes in tuber periderm upon skin-set. Valley Potato Grower Magazine. 70(158) 8, 22-23.
Technical Abstract: Maturation of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tuber native and wound periderm and development of resistance to periderm abrasion were investigated utilizing cytological and histochemical techniques. Both native and wound periderm consist of three different tissues: phellem, phellogen, and phelloderm. It was previously determined that the phellogen walls of immature native periderm are thin and prone to fracture during harvest, leading to periderm abrasion (excoriation). Phellogen walls thicken and become less susceptible to fracture upon maturation of the periderm, leading to resistance to excoriation. We now demonstrate that the phellogen cells of immature wound periderm also have thin radial walls and that wound periderm abrasion is due to fracture of these walls. Maturation of the wound periderm is also associated with an increase in the thickness of the phellogen radial walls. Histological analysis using ruthenium red and hydroxylamine-FeCl2, which stain unesterified and highly methyl-esterified pectins respectively, indicates that the phellogen cell walls of native and wound periderm differ significantly regardless of the stage of maturity. Results obtained by staining with ruthenium red and hydroxylamine-FeCl2 imply that phellogen cell walls of immature native periderm contain methyl-esterified pectin, but are lacking in unesterified (acidic) pectins. Maturation of native periderm is accompanied by an apparent increase in unesterified pectins in the walls of phellogen cells, which may allow for the strengthening of phellogen cell walls via calcium pectate formation. Histological staining of the phellogen walls of wound periderm, on the other hand, imply that these walls are deficient in pectins. Moreover, maturation of wound periderm is not accompanied by an increase in unesterified pectins in these walls. Since peroxidase is known to catalyze the cross-linking of cell wall polymers, we stained native and wound periderm for the presence of peroxidase utilizing guaiacol as a substrate. Peroxidase staining was strong in the phellogen walls of both immature and mature native periderm and we could not detect any differences in staining between them. Peroxidase staining was weak in the phellogen walls of immature wound periderm and was not detectably different in mature wound periderm. The peroxidase data imply that there are distinct differences between native and wound periderm, though our data do not indicate that changes in peroxidase activity are involved in the development of resistance to periderm abrasion that occur upon maturation of the periderm. We cannot rule out the involvement in this process of peroxidase isozymes that have low affinity for the substrates we utilized, however.