Special Issue "Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Ian J. Tetlow

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Science, Summerlee Science Complex, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G2W1, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-519-824-4120

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There are currently unprecedented pressures on global food supplies due to an increasing world population (estimated to be 9.6 billion by 2050). Starches derived from cereals and other crops provide the bulk of the calories in human and livestock diets. Based on current population growth, food production must increase 50% by 2030, and double by 2050 in order to meet projected demands. A fundamental understanding of the process of starch biosynthesis, and its relationship to other metabolic pathways in plants is therefore a critical prerequisite for rational approaches to crop improvement.

We welcome novel research, reviews and opinion pieces covering all related topics including fundamental aspects of the starch metabolic pathway in crop plants, studies on source leaf starch metabolism, crop genetics and improvement, studies on sink metabolism in relation to storage starch synthesis, plant physiology and case-studies from the field in relation to yield improvement or manipulation of starch quality.

Dr. Ian J. Tetlow
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • starch
  • amylose
  • amylopectin
  • plastids
  • amyloplasts
  • cereals
  • tubers
  • endosperm

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
Starch is a water-insoluble polyglucan synthesized inside the plastids of plant tissues to provide a store of carbohydrate. Starch harvested from plant storage organs has probably represented the major source of calories for the human diet since before the dawn of civilization. Following [...] Read more.
Starch is a water-insoluble polyglucan synthesized inside the plastids of plant tissues to provide a store of carbohydrate. Starch harvested from plant storage organs has probably represented the major source of calories for the human diet since before the dawn of civilization. Following the advent of agriculture and the building of complex societies, humans have maintained their dependence on high-yielding domesticated starch-forming crops such as cereals to meet food demands, livestock production, and many non-food applications. The top three crops in terms of acreage are cereals, grown primarily for the harvestable storage starch in the endosperm, although many starchy tuberous crops also provide an important source of calories for various communities around the world. Despite conservation in the core structure of the starch granule, starches from different botanical sources show a high degree of variability, which is exploited in many food and non-food applications. Understanding the factors underpinning starch production and its final structure are of critical importance in guiding future crop improvement endeavours. This special issue contains reviews on these topics and is intended to be a useful resource for researchers involved in improvement of starch-storing crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Transferring a Biomass Enhancement Biotechnology from Glasshouse to Field: A Case Study on Wheat GWD RNAi
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In glasshouse studies we have previously shown that endosperm-specific RNAi suppression of the primary starch phosphorylation enzyme, Glucan, Water Dikinase (GWD) leads to enhanced early vigor, greater leaf biomass, and increases in both head size and yield. To confirm these affects in a [...] Read more.
In glasshouse studies we have previously shown that endosperm-specific RNAi suppression of the primary starch phosphorylation enzyme, Glucan, Water Dikinase (GWD) leads to enhanced early vigor, greater leaf biomass, and increases in both head size and yield. To confirm these affects in a field setting, trials were conducted in three Australian environments. Field results were consistent with those in the glasshouse for increased flag leaf area and rachis nodes. However, there was also a decrease in tiller number and consequently a decrease in yield for one event at two sites. These findings provide potentially important information on plant vigor enhancement and highlight the challenges of transferring the modification of complex traits from single plants in controlled environments to the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Archaeological Starch
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 31 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1019 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article reviews evidence of how starch granules associated with archaeological artefacts provide an insight into the use of plants by our ancestors for food, medicines and cultural activities. The properties of starch relevant to archaeological contexts, methods for examining ancient starch and [...] Read more.
This article reviews evidence of how starch granules associated with archaeological artefacts provide an insight into the use of plants by our ancestors for food, medicines and cultural activities. The properties of starch relevant to archaeological contexts, methods for examining ancient starch and the types of environmental conditions that would promote survival of starch granules over hundreds of thousands of years as part of the archaeological record, are considered. Starch granules identified in dental calculus are clear indicators of the individual having consumed starchy food as part of the diet. However, surviving starch granules may be only a tiny fraction of those consumed over a lifetime and not necessarily representative of foods that were in the diet. A hypothesis, based on a combination of archaeological, physiological and genetic evidence, that plant foods containing high quantities of digestible starch were essential for the evolution of the modern human phenotype, is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessReview Starch Biosynthesis in the Developing Endosperms of Grasses and Cereals
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1707 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The starch-rich endosperms of the Poaceae, which includes wild grasses and their domesticated descendents the cereals, have provided humankind and their livestock with the bulk of their daily calories since the dawn of civilization up to the present day. There are currently unprecedented [...] Read more.
The starch-rich endosperms of the Poaceae, which includes wild grasses and their domesticated descendents the cereals, have provided humankind and their livestock with the bulk of their daily calories since the dawn of civilization up to the present day. There are currently unprecedented pressures on global food supplies, largely resulting from population growth, loss of agricultural land that is linked to increased urbanization, and climate change. Since cereal yields essentially underpin world food and feed supply, it is critical that we understand the biological factors contributing to crop yields. In particular, it is important to understand the biochemical pathway that is involved in starch biosynthesis, since this pathway is the major yield determinant in the seeds of six out of the top seven crops grown worldwide. This review outlines the critical stages of growth and development of the endosperm tissue in the Poaceae, including discussion of carbon provision to the growing sink tissue. The main body of the review presents a current view of our understanding of storage starch biosynthesis, which occurs inside the amyloplasts of developing endosperms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessReview Understanding Starch Structure: Recent Progress
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 19 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (1924 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Starch is a major food supply for humanity. It is produced in seeds, rhizomes, roots and tubers in the form of semi-crystalline granules with unique properties for each plant. Though the size and morphology of the granules is specific for each plant species, [...] Read more.
Starch is a major food supply for humanity. It is produced in seeds, rhizomes, roots and tubers in the form of semi-crystalline granules with unique properties for each plant. Though the size and morphology of the granules is specific for each plant species, their internal structures have remarkably similar architecture, consisting of growth rings, blocklets, and crystalline and amorphous lamellae. The basic components of starch granules are two polyglucans, namely amylose and amylopectin. The molecular structure of amylose is comparatively simple as it consists of glucose residues connected through α-(1,4)-linkages to long chains with a few α-(1,6)-branches. Amylopectin, which is the major component, has the same basic structure, but it has considerably shorter chains and a lot of α-(1,6)-branches. This results in a very complex, three-dimensional structure, the nature of which remains uncertain. Several models of the amylopectin structure have been suggested through the years, and in this review two models are described, namely the “cluster model” and the “building block backbone model”. The structure of the starch granules is discussed in light of both models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch Biosynthesis in Crop Plants)
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