Understanding and influencing starch biochemistry

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2000;35(3):141-96.


Starch is one of the most important products synthesized by plants that is used in industrial processes. If it were possible to increase production or modify starches in vivo, using combinations or either genetically altered or mutant plants, it may make them cheaper for use by industry, or open up new markets for the modified starches. The conversion of sucrose to starch in storage organs is, therefore, discussed. In particular the roles of the different enzymes directly involved in synthesizing the starch molecules on altering starch structure are reviewed, as well as the different models for the production of the fine structure of amylopectin. In addition, the process of starch phosphorylation, which is also important in determining the physical properties of starches, is reviewed. It is hoped that detailed knowledge of these processes will lead to the rational design of tailored starches. Starch degradation is also an important process, for example, in the cold-sweetening of potato tubers, but outside of cereal endosperm little is known about the processes involved. The enzymes thought to be involved and the evidence for this are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glycogen Debranching Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Glycogen Synthase / metabolism
  • Phosphorylases / metabolism
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Starch Synthase / metabolism
  • Starch* / biosynthesis
  • Starch* / chemistry
  • Starch* / metabolism
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism
  • beta-Amylase / metabolism


  • Glycogen Debranching Enzyme System
  • Starch
  • Phosphorylases
  • Glycogen Synthase
  • Starch Synthase
  • 4 alpha-glucanotransferase
  • beta-Amylase
  • alpha-Glucosidases