Cold storage of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers is known to cause accumulation of reducing sugars. Hexose accumulation has been shown to be cultivar-dependent and proposed to be the result of sucrose hydrolysis via invertase. To study whether hexose accumulation is indeed related to the amount of invertase activities, two different approaches were used: (i) neutral and acidic invertase activities as well as soluble sugars were measured in cold-stored tubers of 24 potato cultivars differing in the cold-induced accumulation of reducing sugars and (ii) antisense potato plants with reduced soluble acid invertase activities were created and the soluble sugar accumulation in cold-stored tubers was studied. The cold-induced hexose accumulation in tubers from the different potato cultivars varied strongly (up to eightfold). Large differences were also detected with respect to soluble acid (50-fold) and neutral (5-fold) invertase activities among the different cultivars. Although there was almost no correlation between the total amount of invertase activity and the accumulation of reducing sugars there was a striking correlation between the hexose/sucrose ratio and the extractable soluble invertase activity. To exclude the possibility that other cultivar-specific features could account for the obtained results, the antisense approach was used to decrease the amount of soluble acid invertase activity in a uniform genetic background. To this end the cDNA of a cold-inducible soluble acid invertase (EMBL nucleic-acid database accession no. X70368) was cloned from the cultivar Desirée, and transgenic potato plants were created expressing this cDNA in the antisense orientation under control of the constitutive 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promotor. Analysis of the harvested and cold-stored tubers showed that inhibition of the soluble acid invertase activity leads to a decreased hexose and an increased sucrose content compared with controls. As was already found for the different potato cultivars the hexose/sucrose ratio decreased with decreasing invertase activities but the total amount of soluble sugars did not significantly change. From these data we conclude that invertases do not control the total amount of soluble sugars in cold-stored potato tubers but are involved in the regulation of the ratio of hexose to sucrose.