Utilisation of the MVA pathway to produce elevated levels of the sesquiterpene α-copaene in potato tubers Academic Article uri icon


  • Potato flavour is a complex trait resulting from the presence of a combination of volatile and non-volatile compounds. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of specifically altering the volatile content of tubers and assess its impact on flavour. Tuber-specific over-expression of a potato α-copaene synthase gene resulted in enhanced levels (up to 15-fold higher than controls) of the sesquiterpene α-copaene. A positive correlation (R(2)=0.8) between transgene expression level and α-copaene abundance was observed. No significant changes in the levels of volatiles other than α-copaene were detected. Non-volatile flavour compounds (sugars, glycoalkaloids, major umami amino acids and 5'-ribonucleotides) were also determined. Relationships between flavour compounds and sensory evaluation data were investigated. Evaluators could not detect any aroma differences in the transgenic samples compared with controls and no significant differences in taste attributes were found. Thus although successful engineering of potato tubers to accumulate high levels of the flavour volatile α-copaene was achieved, sensory analysis suggests that α-copaene is not a major component of potato flavour.

publication date

  • December 1, 2011