Carbon partitioning mechanisms in POTATO under drought stress

Ernest B. Aliche, Tom P.J.M. Theeuwen, Marian Oortwijn, Richard G.F. Visser, Gerard van der Linden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an important food crop consumed all over the world, but it is generally sensitive to drought conditions. One of the major physiological processes affected by drought stress is carbon partitioning: the plant's choice of where to allocate its photoassimilates. Our aim was to investigate the molecular factors and possible bottlenecks affecting carbon partitioning during drought. We studied potato cultivars with contrasting drought responses in the greenhouse in the years 2013–2015, and further investigated the expression of genes involved in carbon partitioning and metabolite levels. Our results indicate that one of the most severe effects of drought stress on potato is the arrest of stolon differentiation and formation of tubers. We also identified some physiological traits like stomatal conductance and chlorophyll content as affecting carbon assimilation, partitioning and eventual tuber yield. The gene expressions and biochemical analyses highlight the various tissues prioritized by the plant for assimilate transport during drought stress, and give indications of what distinguishes drought tolerance and sensitivity of cultivated potato. Some of the key genes studied (like Sucrose synthase and Sucrose transporters) may be inclusive breeding targets for drought tolerance in potato.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Carbon partitioning
  • Drought
  • Gene expression
  • Potato
  • Sugar metabolism

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