Exogenous ethylene is commonly used as a commercial sprouting inhibitor of potato tubers. The role of ethylene in the control of sprouting of sweetpotato roots, however, is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of ethylene in control of sprouting in sweetpotato roots by observing the effect of an ethylene synthesis inhibitor, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), and the ethylene antagonist, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), in the presence and absence of exogenous ethylene on root sprouting and associated sugar accumulation. Continuous exposure to 10µlL ethylene, 24h exposure to 625nlL 1-MCP or dipping in 100µlL AVG all inhibited sprout growth in sweetpotato roots of two varieties over 4 weeks of storage at 25°C. The observations that both ethylene on its own and 1-MCP, which inhibits ethylene action, inhibit sprout growth indicate that while continuous exposure to exogenous ethylene leads to sprout growth inhibition, ethylene is also required for sprouting. In potato tubers ethylene is required to break dormancy, while continuous exposure inhibits sprout growth.Monosaccharide concentrations in ethylene, 1-MCP or AVG treated roots were lower than in untreated roots, and for ethylene treated roots this was associated with higher respiration rates. This is consistent with the activation of some additional process by ethylene which uses energy through sugar metabolism. 1-MCP and AVG both inhibited this increase in respiration rate and counteracted the decrease in monosaccharide concentrations. 1-MCP presumably counteracts the ethylene stimulation of this process, while the effect of AVG is attributed to its possible inhibitory effects on protein synthesis.
Cheema, M. U. A., Rees, D., Colgan, R. J., Taylor, M., & Westby, A. (2013). The effects of ethylene, 1-MCP and AVG on sprouting in sweetpotato roots. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 85, 89-93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postharvbio.2013.05.001