Engineering properties of sweet potato starch for industrial applications by biotechnological techniques including genome editing

Ruiqing Lyu, Sulaiman Ahmed, Weijuan Fan, Jun Yang, Xiaoyun Wu, Wenzhi Zhou, Peng Zhang, Ling Yuan, Hongxia Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is one of the largest food crops in the world. Due to its abundance of starch, sweet potato is a valuable ingredient in food derivatives, dietary supplements, and industrial raw materials. In addition, due to its ability to adapt to a wide range of harsh climate and soil conditions, sweet potato is a crop that copes well with the environmental stresses caused by climate change. However, due to the complexity of the sweet potato genome and the long breeding cycle, our ability to modify sweet potato starch is limited. In this review, we cover the recent development in sweet potato breeding, understanding of starch properties, and the progress in sweet potato genomics. We describe the applicational values of sweet potato starch in food, industrial products, and biofuel, in addition to the effects of starch properties in different industrial applications. We also explore the possibility of manipulating starch properties through biotechnological means, such as the CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing. The ability to target the genome with precision provides new opportunities for reducing breeding time, increasing yield, and optimizing the starch properties of sweet potatoes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9533
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD1000705, 2019YFD1000703, 2019YFD1000701–2, 2019YFD1000704–2), Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (Y819V11111), and the Chenshan Special Fund for Shanghai Landscaping Administration Bureau Program (G182402), Special funding from China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2019TQ0335) to S.A., a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Kentucky to R.L., and the Harold R. Burton Endowed Professorship to L.Y.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Biotechnology
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Crop improvement
  • Genome editing
  • Molecular genetics
  • Starch metabolism
  • Sweet potato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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