Toxic secondary metabolite production in genetically modified potatoes in response to stress

  • Matthews D
  • Jones H
  • Gans P
 et al. 
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Potatoes produce a number of toxic secondary metabolites, which are divided into two groups: the sesquiterpenes and the glycoalkaloids (PGAs): whereas PGAs are largely preformed and present in toxic quantities in both the foliage and "green" potatoes, it is well documented that the levels of PGAs and sesquiterpenes are effected by many biotic an abiotic stresses. The development of genetically modified potato varieties has made it prudent to ascertain whether there may be changes in the amounts or types of these secondary metabolites either as a direct effect of the transgene or due to its interactions with environmental variables. Transgenic potato lines were exposed, along with nontransgenic lines, to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses and a range of environmental conditions in the field and store. Following stressing, a comparison was made of levels of potato glycoalkaloid and sesquiterpene levels between the two groups. Significant differences were observed in the levels of both glycoalkaloid and sesquiterpene levels between transgenic and control material and between infected and noninfected material.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Genetic modification
  • Human toxicity
  • Potato glycoalkaloids
  • Sesquiterpene phytoalexins
  • Solanum tuberosum

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  • Derek Matthews

  • Huw Jones

  • Paul Gans

  • Steven Coates

  • Lydia M.J. Smith

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