Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

The Effect of High Temperature on Starch Synthesis and the Activity of Starch Synthase

K Denyer, CM Hylton and AM Smith

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 21(6) 783 - 789
Published: 1994


The decrease in yield which is observed when developing storage organs such as cereal grains or potato tubers are exposed to high temperatures is due to a lower final starch content. The rate of starch synthesis during the development of these storage organs at high temperature, is either reduced or fails to increase sufficiently to compensate for the shorter developmental period. This effect on the rate of starch synthesis does not seem to be due to a reduction in the supply of photosynthate. One of the enzymes in the pathway of starch synthesis, soluble starch synthase, is susceptible to heat inactivation at unusually low temperatures and may also have a low optimum temperature for maximum activity. In some storage organs, the maximum catalytic activity of soluble starch synthase is not very much greater than the rate of starch synthesis. A decrease in the activity of this enzyme is therefore, likely to affect the rate of starch synthesis. Thus, the effect of high temperature on the rate of starch synthesis may be due, at least in part, to the properties of this enzyme. This review discusses the unusual heat-sensitivity of starch synthase in the context ofthe effects of high temperature on starch synthesis in storage organs.

© CSIRO 1994

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