Food Structure


Electron microprobe and X-ray fluorescence techniques were used to study elemental gradients associated with the physiological disorder hollow heart i n potato tubers. Gradients were found along the length and across the width of mature tubers. These were not rela ted to the disorder, however . Tubers with advanced symptoms of the disorder had elemental levels and gradients similar to those in healthy, control tubers. The results suggest that if the disorder is initially caused by an elemental deficiency, as has sometimes been proposed , the deficiency is temporary and no longer exists in mature tubers with advanced hollow heart. Radial gradients were associated rnd inly with two contrasting tissues . the centra 1 pith and the surrounding perimedullary zone. Tissue differences are critical in microprobe studies involving small samples Microprobe studies of developing tubers containing incipient stages of hollow heart. employing strip samples restricted to the central pith where the disorder originates and taken so as to traverse the small lesions, showed a dramatic increase in Mg in lesion areas. It is suggested that a nutrient imbalance may trigger the onset of the cell necrosis that characterizes the initiation of hollow heart in potato . A localized Mg toxicity or Ca deficiency due to high Mg:Ca ratio is implicated.

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