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Chen-Yi Hung, Cindy B.S. Tong, and John R. Murray

The color of red potatoes is due to an accumulation of anthocyanins in periderm tissues. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of several factors on tuber redness. Using the red tuber-producing S. tuberosum ssp. tuberosum cultivar Norland, we observed that chroma (intensity of redness) and anthocyanin content of greenhouse-grown tubers decreased as tuber weight increased. There was a slight or no increase in hue (tint). We used HPLC to determine that pelargonidin and peonidin are the major anthocyanidins (aglycones of anthocyanins) in tuber periderm. The ratio of pelargonidin to peonidin increased as tuber weight increased up to 25 g fresh weight. The decrease in chroma was not due to an increase in cell sap pH; we observed a decrease in cellular pH as tuber weight increased. Controlled-atmosphere storage had no effect on tuber chroma or anthocyanin content compared to air storage. Methyl jasmonate, sucrose, or light treatment did not increase anthocyanin accumulation. Tubers exposed to light had less anthocyanin than those kept in the dark. We are examining the developmental expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes, as well as the effect of maize transcription factors on anthocyanin synthesis, in tuber periderm.

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Chen-Yi Hung, John R. Murray, Sarah M. Ohmann, and Cindy B.S. Tong

The color of red potato tubers is due to an accumulation of anthocyanins in periderm and peripheral cortex tissues. The objective of this study was to characterize changes in anthocyanin content and tuber surface color during tuber development. Using the red tuber-producing potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivar Norland, we observed that chroma (intensity of redness) and anthocyanin content per unit of surface area of greenhouse-grown tubers decreased as tuber weight increased. There was no increase in hue (tint) during the same developmental periods. Using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), we determined that pelargonidin and peonidin are the major anthocyanidins (aglycones of anthocyanins) in the tuber periderm. Northern blot analyses indicated that steady-state mRNA levels of dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR), an anthocyanin biosynthetic enzyme, continued throughout tuber development. These results suggest that anthocyanins are synthesized throughout tuber development, and that cell division and/or enlargement contribute to a decline in chroma and anthocyanin concentration.