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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Carbon partitioning between oil and carbohydrates in developing oat (Avena sativa L.) seeds

Ekman, Åsa; Hayden, Daniel; Dehesh, Katayoon, Bulow, Leif; Stymne, Sten


Cereals accumulate starch in the endosperm as their major energy reserve in the grain. In most cereals the embryo, scutellum, and aleurone layer are high in oil, but these tissues constitute a very small part of the total seed weight. However, in oat (Avena sativa L.) most of the oil in kernels is deposited in the same endosperm cells that accumulate starch. Thus oat endosperm is a desirable model system to study the metabolic switches responsible for carbon partitioning between oil and starch synthesis. A prerequisite for such investigations is the development of an experimental system for oat that allows for metabolic flux analysis using stable and radioactive isotope labelling. An in vitro liquid culture system, developed for detached oat panicles and optimized to mimic kernel composition during different developmental stages in planta, is presented here. This system was subsequently used in analyses of carbon partitioning between lipids and carbohydrates by the administration of 14C-labelled sucrose to two cultivars having different amounts of kernel oil. The data presented in this study clearly show that a higher amount of oil in the high-oil cultivar compared with the medium-oil cultivar was due to a higher proportion of carbon partitioning into oil during seed filling, predominantly at the earlier stages of kernel development


Avena sativa; carbon partitioning; cereal; endosperm; lipid; oat; oil; starch; triacylglycerol

Published in

Journal of Experimental Botany
2008, volume: 59, number: 15, pages: 4247-4257

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Plant breeding and Biotechnology
Hayden, Daniel
Dehesh, Katayoon
University of California Davis (UC Davis)
Bulow, Leif
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Plant breeding and Biotechnology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Plant breeding and Biotechnology

UKÄ Subject classification

Renewable Bioenergy Research
Agricultural Science

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