Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

D. K. Salunkhe


D. K. Salunkhe


C. A. Ernstrom


D. V. Sisson


J. T. Blake


R. F. Keeler


L. E. Olson


Chlorophyll and solanine syntheses as influenced by cultivars, specific gravities, light intensities, and duration of exposure to light were studied in potato (Solanum tuberosum, L.) tubers. Chemicals, gamma radiation, clear polyethylene packaging in 15 per cent CO2, and storage at subatmospheric pressure were employed to control the formation of these two compounds. The toxicity of solanine to mice, the fungus Trichoderma viride, and cholinesterase inhibition patterns in rabbits and a dog were evaluated. The influence of the central nervous system stimulating drugs was investigated to find if they counteracted solanine toxicity.

Of the 11 cultivars tested, tubers of Bounty, Kennebec, Norchip, and Red Lasoda were most sensitive to greening and solanine development. LaChipper and Platte tubers were least susceptible to greening and their solanine contents were minimum. The significant differences in chlorophyll and solanine formation among cultivars showed that greening potential is a cultivar characteristic.

Chlorophyll development in tubers was inversely related to their specific gravity. Solanine synthesis was, however, not dependent on specific gravity.

Studies on effect of four light intensities on Kennebec potato tubers that were stored for nearly 6 months showed that more chlorophyll formed at 100 and 150 ft-c than at 50 and 200 ft-c light intensities. Generally, chlorophyll formation increased with increased light intensity up to 100 ft-c, slowly and steadily declined up to 150 ft-c, and sharply declined at 200 ft-c. There were no significant differences in the solanine contents of the tubers after exposure to these light intensities.

The duration of exposure of the tubers to 100 ft-c revealed that solanine and chlorophyll contents increased linearly with the duration of exposure up to the sixth and tenth day, respectively. There was no difference in the amount of chlorophyll formed at the end of the tenth and fifteenth day. The solanine contents were rather constant from the sixth to the tenth day and then slightly declined at the end of the fifteenth day. The respiration of the tubers did not seem to have an apparent relationship to solanine and chlorophyll formation.

Investigation on the control of greening showed that two chemicals, Ethrel (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) and Alar (succinamic acid, 2,2-dimethylhydrazide) when applied at 10, 000 ppm by vacuum injection technique, were significantly effective in inhibiting chlorophyll and solanine syntheses. Ethrel was most effective in controlling the chlorophyll formation and the least solanine was formed after the Alar treatment. The dose of 10 krads of gamma radiation inhibited 80 per cent, while polyethylene packaging with 15 per cent CO2, only 32 per cent of chlorophyll synthesis. Storage of tubers at subatmospheric pressure of 126 mm-Hg resulted in complete inhibition of chlorophyll formation. The irradiation, CO2 environment either alone or in combination, and subatmospheric pressure treatments did not affect solanine synthesis.

Solanine was toxic to mice, rabbits, a dog, and the fungus Trichoderma viride. The LD50 for intraperitoneal (ip) administration, single dose, in mice was 32.3 mg of solanine per Kg body weight, the 19/20 confidence limits being 27.6 - 37.9 mg. Plasma and erythrocytic cholinesterase inhibition in rabbits indicated that solanine was a weak to moderate inhibitor of both specific and nonspecific cholinesterase. There was less inhibition of erythrocytic cholinesterase than that of plasma in vivo. In an anesthetized dog, cumulative doses of solanine showed a quick inhibition of cholinesterase but rapid recovery was noted in the case of serum enzyme, while there was no inhibition of the red cell enzyme.

A prior intraperitoneal dose of 2 mg/Kg of atropine sulfate lowered the mortality after ip injection into mice at 40 mg/Kg of solanine from 9/10 to 5/10. Similar application of pargyline (5 mg/Kg ip) and amphetamine (5 mg/Kg ip) had no effect on mortality from solanine. Atropine influence appeared antagonistic and counteracted solanine toxicity.

The concentration of 10 mg of solanine per 100 ml of potato-dextrose-agar medium had no effect on the Trichoderma viride fungus growth, while at a concentration of 200 mg, the growth ceased. The (Lethal Concentration) LC50 was 102.2 mg/100 ml, and 19/20 confidence limits being 83.85 - 124.6 mg.



Included in

Nutrition Commons