American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 83, Issue 5, pp 409–421 | Cite as

Pink eye is an unusual periderm disorder characterized by aberrant suberization: A cytological analysis

  • Edward C. LulaiEmail author
  • John J. Weiland
  • Jeffrey C. Suttle
  • Robert P. Sabba
  • A. J. Bussan


Potato tuber pink eye (PE) is a disorder of unknown origin that results in significant postharvest quality deterioration and rot. Little is known about the physiology of PE, including the characteristic tissue autofluorescence that defines the PE syndrome. The objective of this research was to identify the source of PE-induced autofluorescence and PE-related susceptibility to infection. The suberized barrier of the native periderm and cellular characteristics of neighboring parenchyma tissues were investigated to determine their involvement in the PE disorder. The results create a new physiological model describing the disorder and addressing the enigma of PE. Characteristics of the PE model emerge from the following results: (1) the integrity of the suberized barrier of the native periderm was compromised or absent in some surface areas of PE tubers thereby implicating the breakdown of the native periderm and its associated suberin barrier with PE and the susceptibility of PE tubers to pathogen infection; (2) the PE complex was characterized by unusual suberin poly(phenolic) (SPP) accumulations in the cortical parenchyma followed by latent suberin poly(aliphatic) (SPA) accumulations that were generally insufficient to form a complete barrier that was competent to block infections by pathogenic bacteria and fungi; (3) the aberrant absence or compromised integrity of the suberin barrier, including associated waxes, resulted in erratic increased susceptibility to water vapor loss known to cause tuber shrinkage and flaccidity; (4) widespread accumulations of SPP on parenchyma cell walls were the durable source of autofluorescence commonly used to determine the presence of the disorder; (5) the erratic development of unusual internal phellogen and periderm layers that, if complete with SPA, blocked hyphal advancement; (6) combined, the data provide a plausible explanation for PE infection court and rot anomalies as they occur without ingress of a wound opening. Results also demonstrated that neutral red may be used as a sensitive fluorochrome to detect intact hydrophobic areas in hyphae. Collectively, the results provide compelling evidence that the PE disorder includes a physiological basis.

Additional key words

Potato pink eye polyphenolic polyaliphatic potato Solanum tuberosum L. 



enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay


pink eye


standard error


suberin poly(phenolic(s))


potato dextrose agar


formalinacetic acid-alcohol


El ojo rosado (PE) del tubérculo de papa es un desorden de origen desconocido que deviene en un significativo deterioro de la calidad de poscosecha y pudrición. Muy poco se conoce a cerca de la fisiología de este desorden incluyendo la auto fluorescencia del tejido que caracteriza al síndrome de PE. El objetivo de esta investigación fue identificar la fuente de auto fluorescencia inducida por PE y la susceptibilidad a la infección. Se investigaron, la barrera suberizada del peridermo nativo y las características celulares del tejido del parénquima vecino, para determinar su participación en el desorden que produce el PE. Los resultados han creado un nuevo modelo fisiológico que describe el desorden y que señala el enigma de PE. Las características del modelo emergen de los siguientes resultados: (1) la integridad de la barrera suberizada del peridermo nativo estuvo comprometida o ausente en algunas áreas de la superficie de tubérculos afectados implicando una descomposición del peridermo nativo, la integridad de la barrera de suberina asociada, y la susceptibilidad de los tubérculos a la infección por patógenos, (2) el PE estuvo caracterizado por una extraordinaria acumulación de suberina polifenólica (SPF) en el parénquima, seguida por una latente acumulación de suberina polialifática (SPA) que fueron generalmente insuficientes para formar una barrera completa capaz de bloquear infecciones de bacterias y hongos patógenos, (3) la ausencia aberrante o compromiso de la integridad de la barrera de suberina, incluyendo ceras, dio como resultado un aumento errático de la susceptibilidad a la pérdida de vapor de agua, causas conocidas de la reducción y flacidez del tubérculo, (4) la acumulación generalizada de SPF en las paredes de las células del parénquima fue el origen constante de la autofluorescencia, utilizada comúnmente para determinar la presencia del desorden, (5) el desarrollo errático de capas de felógeno interno inusual y capas de peridermo, las cuales cuando se complementan con SPA, bloquean el avance de hifas, (6) combinados los datos, proporcionan una explicación plausible para el ingreso de PE y anomalías de la raíz, como ocurre sin la abertura de una herida de ingreso. Los resultados también han demostrado que se puede utilizar el rojo neutro como un fluorocromo sensible para detectar las áreas hidrofóbicas en hifas. En conjunto, los resultados proporcionan una evidencia precisa de que el PE incluye una base fisiológica.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward C. Lulai
    • 1
    Email author
  • John J. Weiland
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Suttle
    • 1
  • Robert P. Sabba
    • 2
  • A. J. Bussan
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA-ARS, Northern Crop Science LaboratoryFargoUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of HorticultureUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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