Using potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tuber discs incubated in a range of mannitol concentrations it has been demonstrated that both sucrose uptake and the conversion of sucrose to starch are sensitive to the osmotic environment of the storage cells. Starch synthesis was optimised at 300 mM but declined sharply at both lower and higher osmotic concentrations. The decline in starch synthesis on either side of optimum was not proportional to the change in mannitol concentration, indicating different inhibitory mechanisms under low and high osmotica. The fraction of the total sucrose converted to starch i.e. the partitioning between sucrose and starch, was also influenced by osmotic environment. The amount of soluble material taken up by the storage cells, but not converted to starch, was maintained under mannitol concentrations (300-400 mM) which inhibited starch synthesis, indicating that sucrose uptake continued during declining starch synthesis. At mannitol concentrations above 400 mM, sucrose uptake was greatly enhanced but no significant change in starch synthesis occurred.