OPEN Scientific reports | 7 Apr 2016
M Kato, N Masamura, J Shono, D Okamoto, T Abe and S Imai
The onion lachrymatory factor (LF) is produced from trans-S-1-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide (PRENCSO) through successive reactions catalyzed by alliinase (EC 220.127.116.11) and lachrymatory factor synthase (LFS), and is responsible for the tear inducing-property and the pungency of fresh onions. We developed tearless, non-pungent onions non-transgenically by irradiating seeds with neon-ion at 20 Gy. The bulbs obtained from the irradiated seeds and their offspring bulbs produced by selfing were screened by organoleptic assessment of tear-inducing property or HPLC analysis of LF production. After repeated screening and seed production by selfing, two tearless, non-pungent bulbs were identified in the third generation (M3) bulbs. Twenty M4 bulbs obtained from each of them showed no tear-inducing property or pungency when evaluated by 20 sensory panelists. The LF production levels in these bulbs were approximately 7.5-fold lower than those of the normal onion. The low LF production levels were due to reduction in alliinase activity, which was a result of low alliinase mRNA expression (less than 1% of that in the normal onion) and consequent low amounts of the alliinase protein. These tearless, non-pungent onions should be welcomed by all who tear while chopping onions and those who work in facilities where fresh onions are processed.
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