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How environmental stress affects starch composition and functionality in cereal endosperm

  • Author(s): Beckles, DM
  • Thitisaksakul, M
  • et al.
Abstract

Stressful environments can alter starch biosynthesis in cereal endosperm. The aim of this review is to carefully examine how starch functional properties are altered when plants encounter environmental parameters outside of the normal range. This is important because while growers and processors require grain yield stability and product uniformity this will be challenging in an era of variable weather patterns. Being able to predict the general physico-chemical nature of the starch as a result of growth status is a step towards the precise agriculture required for the 21st century. Variations in soil moisture and nutrient availability, ambient temperature, and atmospheric composition were all shown to affect starch functionality. Elevated temperature led to the most significant changes in both tropical and temperate cereals and amylose content was the most sensitive parameter under various environmental conditions. Genotypic variation appears to be a primary contributor for the response of cereal starches to environmental stress. Nonetheless, while a large amount of data from single controlled environmental stress experiment is currently available, comparably little is known about whether similar results would be achieved in multifactorial and large-scale settings. The challenges in terms of the need for more detailed experimental descriptions to lessen the study-to-study discrepancies of data and to enhance their interpretability were also discussed. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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