Heritage potato varieties in Canada are historic old varieties collected from Canada and various countries before the formal establishment of the Canadian plant variety registration system and may be a valuable gene resource for beneficial traits in potato breeding and bioproducts development. Greater evaluation is the key for the enhanced use of these materials. It is unknown how much variation of starch granules occurs among Canadian heritage potato varieties. We analyzed the starch granule size of 14 potato heritage varieties held in the Canadian Plant Gene Resources collection over 2 years using a squeezed juice and microscopic method recently developed at the Potato Research Centre. The varieties demonstrated considerable variation in starch granule size and shape. The granules showed average lengths ranging from 18 μm in the variety Congo to 32 μm in 'Russet Burbank'. The largest single granule measured from 64 μm in 'Congo' to 91 μm in 'Crotte d'Ours.' The granule sizes of the varieties showed a very high correlation (r= 0.975, P< 0.0001) between years. This high reproducibility suggests the existence of genetic factors in determining starch granule size. We also found that the starch granule size is positively correlated with tuber dry matter (in terms of specific gravity) in these heritage potatoes. The results demonstrated reproducible genotypic variation for starch granule size and shape in tubers with a significant correlation to tuber dry matter in these heritage potato varieties, and offers the possibility for and agronomic relevance of genetic modification of starch granules through selective breeding.

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Scientia Horticulturae
Department of Biology

Zhang, J. (Jichong), Murphy, A. (Agnes), Liu, G. (Gongshe), Bizimungu, B. (Benoit), Liu, Q. (Qiang), Leclerc, Y. (Yves), … Li, X.-Q. (Xiu-Qing). (2011). Starch granule size variation and relationship with tuber dry matter content in heritage potato varieties. Scientia Horticulturae, 130(3), 503–509. doi:10.1016/j.scienta.2011.08.006