Comparison of good- and bad-quality cork: Application of high-throughput sequencing of phellogenic tissue

Rita Teresa Teixeira, Ana Margarida Fortes, Carla Pinheiro, Helena Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Cork is one of the most valuable non-wood forest products and plays an important role in Mediterranean economies. The production of high-quality cork is dependent on both genome and environment, posing constraints on the industry because an ever-growing amount of bad-quality cork (BQC) development has been observed. In order to identify genes responsible for production of cork of superior quality we performed a comparative analysis using the 454 pyrosequencing approach on phellogenic tissue of good- and bad-quality samples. The transcriptional profiling showed a high number of genes differentially expressed (8.48%) from which 78.8% displayed annotation. Genes more highly represented in BQC are involved in DNA synthesis, RNA processing, proteolysis, and transcription factors related to the abiotic stress response. Putative stomatal/lenticular-associated genes which may be responsible for the disadvantageous higher number of lenticular channels in BQC are also more highly represented. BQC also showed an elevated content of free phenolics. On the other hand, good-quality cork (GQC) can be distinguished by highly expressed genes encoding heat-shock proteins. Together the results provide valuable new information about the molecular events leading to cork formation and provide putative biomarkers associated with cork quality that can be useful in breeding programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4887-4905
Number of pages19
JournalJournal Of Experimental Botany
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Abiotic stress
  • Cork quality
  • Lenticel
  • Phellogen
  • Quercus suber
  • Transcriptomics


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