Pectin engineering to modify product quality in potato

Heather A Ross, Wayne L Morris, Laurence J M Ducreux, Robert D Hancock, Susan R Verrall, Jenny A Morris, Gregory A Tucker, Derek Stewart, Pete E Hedley, Gordon J McDougall, Mark A Taylor

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    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Although processed potato tuber texture is an important trait that influences consumer preference, a detailed understanding of tuber textural properties at the molecular level is lacking. Previous work has identified tuber pectin methyl esterase (PME) activity as a potential factor impacting on textural properties, and the expression of a gene encoding an isoform of PME (PEST1) was associated with cooked tuber textural properties. In this study, a transgenic approach was undertaken to investigate further the impact of the PEST1 gene. Antisense and over-expressing potato lines were generated. In over-expressing lines, tuber PME activity was enhanced by up to 2.3-fold; whereas in antisense lines, PME activity was decreased by up to 62%. PME isoform analysis indicated that the PEST1 gene encoded one isoform of PME. Analysis of cell walls from tubers from the over-expressing lines indicated that the changes in PME activity resulted in a decrease in pectin methylation. Analysis of processed tuber texture demonstrated that the reduced level of pectin methylation in the over-expressing transgenic lines was associated with a firmer processed texture. Thus, there is a clear link between PME activity, pectin methylation and processed tuber textural properties.
    © 2011 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal
    © 2011 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)848-856
    Number of pages9
    JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • cell wall
    • pectin
    • pectin methyl esterase
    • potato
    • texture
    • tuber


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