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Dormancy Release and Apical Dominance in Postharvest Potato: The Role of Auxin and Programmed Cell Death in Sprouting Induction

Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Department of Project: 
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Dept.
Project Description: 

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is an important crop in the United States and approximately 38,000 tons were produced in Massachusetts in 2006, with a value of $7.5M (National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA). About 92-percent of the Massachusetts crop is consumed fresh or marketed as processed products, while 8-percent is re-used as seed tubers. Tuber sprouting during storage, caused by dormancy release of tuber buds, leads to undesirable loss of weight, turgidity and texture alterations. Undesirable sprouting during storage is a serious problem for the fresh market, prior to industrial processing, and in storage of seed-tubers (Coleman, 2000). Ultimately, breakthroughs in table potato and seed-tuber marketing will depend on controlling sprouting with breeding, transgenic strategies, or environmentally friendly agents that pose low health risks. Therefore it is necessary to further define the molecular mechanisms that control dormancy release and apical dominance of the potato tuber. This research has the potential to improve food quality, safety and security.