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Translucent tissue defect in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers is associated with oxidative stress accompanying an accelerated aging phenotype


Translucent tissue defect (TTD) is an undesirable postharvest disorder of potato tubers characterized by the development of random pockets of semi-transparent tissue containing high concentrations of reducing sugars. Translucent areas turn dark during frying due to the Maillard reaction. The newly released cultivar, Premier Russet, is highly resistant to low temperature sweetening, but susceptible to TTD. Symptoms appeared as early as 170 days after harvest and worsened with time in storage (4–9 °C, 95 % RH). In addition to higher concentrations of glucose, fructose and sucrose, TTD resulted in lower dry matter, higher specific activities of starch phosphorylase and glc-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, higher protease activity, loss of protein, and increased concentrations of free amino acids (esp. asparagine and glutamine). The mechanism of TTD is unknown; however, the disorder has similarities with the irreversible senescent sweetening that occurs in tubers during long-term storage, where much of the decline in quality is a consequence of progressive increases in oxidative stress with advancing age. The respiration rate of non-TTD ‘Premier Russet’ tubers was inherently higher (ca. 40 %) than that of ‘Russet Burbank’ tubers (a non-TTD cultivar). Moreover, translucent tissue from ‘Premier Russet’ tubers had a 1.9-fold higher respiration rate than the average of non-translucent tissue and tissue from non-TTD tubers. Peroxidation of membrane lipids during TTD development resulted in increased levels of malondialdehyde and likely contributed to a measurable increase in membrane permeability. Superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and the ratio of oxidized to total glutathione were substantially higher in translucent tissue. TTD tubers also contained twofold less ascorbate than non-TTD tubers. TTD appears to be a consequence of oxidative stress associated with accelerated aging of ‘Premier Russet’ tubers.

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6-Phosphogluconate dehydrogenase


Alternate oxidase




Brown center




Days after harvest


Days after planting


Dinitrosalicylic acid




Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase




Glutathione reductase


Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione


Internal brown spot


Internal heat necrosis


Invertase inhibitor (1 and 2)




Low temperature sweetening




Nitro-blue tetrazolium


Reactive oxygen species


Reducing sugars


Superoxide dismutase


Starch phosphorylase (L and H)


Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances


Trichloroacetic acid






Translucent tissue defect


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Financial support from the USDA/ARS, Washington State Potato Commission, WSU Agricultural Research Center and WSU Department of Horticulture is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Dr. Sanjay Gupta, University of Minnesota, for providing the invertase activity protocol.

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Correspondence to N. Richard Knowles.

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Zommick, D.H., Kumar, G.N.M., Knowles, L.O. et al. Translucent tissue defect in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers is associated with oxidative stress accompanying an accelerated aging phenotype. Planta 238, 1125–1145 (2013).

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  • Aging
  • Mottling
  • Oxidative metabolism
  • Physiological disorder
  • Postharvest
  • Respiration
  • Senescent sweetening
  • Storage