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Keywords:

  • ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase;
  • β-Amylase;
  • Starch;
  • Sucrose;
  • Sugarcane

Abstract

Starch only occurs in small amounts in sugarcane, but is, nevertheless an unwanted product because it reduces the amount of sucrose that can be crystallized from molasses. In an attempt to reduce the starch content of sugarcane, the activities of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) and β-amylase were manipulated using transgenic approaches. Transformation vectors to reduce AGPase activity and to increase plastidial β-amylase activity were constructed and used for the transformation of sugarcane calli. The results of the manipulations were analyzed in suspension cultures. AGPase activity was reduced down to between 14 and 54% of the wild-type control. This led to a reduction in starch concentration down to 38% of the levels of the wild-type control. β-Amylase activity was increased in the transgenic lines by 1.5–2 times that of the wild-type control. This increase in activity led to a reduction in starch amounts by 90% compared to wild-type control cells. In both experiments, the changes in starch concentrations could be correlated with the change in enzyme activity. There were no significant effects on sucrose concentrations in either experiment, indicating that these approaches might be useful to engineer regenerated sugarcane for optimized sucrose production.