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James H. Lorenzen and Abbas M. Lafta

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) responds to heat stress with a shift in partitioning from tubers to shoots. Enzymes responsible for sucrolysis previously have been used as indicators of sink strength and are likely involved in controlling flow of carbon into developing organs. Changes in activity of enzymes involved in sucrose metabolism were investigated in shoots of two potato cultivars that previously were characterized as susceptible and tolerant to heat stress. Enzyme activity of sucrose synthase (SS) and invertases was determined for mature leaves, young leaves, and stems of plants adapted to 21/19 °C, or after transferring plants to 29/27 °C for 3 days. High temperatures resulted in a nonsignificant increase in activities of SS, acid, and neutral invertase in young growing leaves but not in stems or mature leaves. The combined activity of the two invertases was ≈40 times higher than SS activity in young leaves. There was no temperature genotype interaction with regard to these enzymes in the tissues investigated. A previously reported increase in activity of sucrose-phosphate synthase in mature leaves of plants subjected to high temperature was reversed after these plants were returned to a normal growing temperature.

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Abbas M. Lafta and James H. Lorenzen

Growth chamber and greenhouse experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of temperature and irradiance on foliar glycoalkaloids of three potato genotypes (Solanum tuberosum L.) that differ in glycoalkaloid content. Two genotypes (ND4382-17 and ND4382-19) produced the acetylated glycoalkaloids, leptine I and II, that contribute resistance to the Colorado potato beetle (CPB, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say). The glycoalkaloids were separated and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. Exposure of plants to high temperature (32/27 °C, 14-hour day/10-hour night) for 3 weeks under a 14-hour photoperiod with an irradiance of 475 μmol·m-2·s-1 significantly increased the levels of leptines I and II, solanine, and chaconine compared to that at low temperature (22/17 °C). Increases in foliar leptines and total glycoalkaloids at high temperature were 90% and 169%, respectively. Growing potato plants at low irradiance (75% reduction) for 2 or 4 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in the levels of leptine I and II (46%), solanine (43%), and chaconine (38%) compared to nonshaded plants. Transferring plants from high to low irradiance or from low to high irradiance for 2 weeks caused a decrease and an increase in glycoalkaloid concentration, respectively. Therefore, both temperature and irradiance influenced foliar levels of glycoalkaloids in potato plants without changing the leptines and solanine to chaconine ratios. Thus, irradiance and temperature influenced glycoalkaloid compounds that can effect resistance to CPB, especially leptine I and II.

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Abbas M. Lafta and James H. Lorenzen

Potato plants are sensitive to heat stress, which reduces tuber yield and alters whole plant partitioning. This study was conducted to determine the effect of high temperature on activity of enzymes related to sucrose metabolism in source and sink tissues of potato plants. Potato plants were exposed to two temperature regimes (20 and 28 C) for 3 days. High temperatures resulted in an increase in sucrose synthase and acid and neutral invertase activities in young growing leaves (< 1.5 cm). However, there were no significant changes in these enzyme activities in stems or mature leaves. The results indicate that both sucrose synthase and invertases are involved in sucrose breakdown in young leaves. We will also discuss the role of sucrose phosphate synthase in mature source leaves and how it is affected by temperature and altered partitioning pattern. Activity of sucrose synthase was affected more than ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase in small growing tubers exposed to high temperatures.