Maintaining fry colour in processing potato stores

1-MCP & Ethylene for effective sprout control in processing potato stores

The use of ethylene as a potato sprout suppressant has become well established throughout Europe. Initially launched as a residue-free option mainly for pre-pack potatoes, following the de-registration of CIPC there is increasing interest on its use in processing crops.

Simon Faulkner, Director of SDF Agriculture based in Cambridgeshire has had several years’ experience of using ethylene as a sprout suppressant on both pre-pack and processing crops: ‘’ We know that ethylene can have an adverse effect on the fry colour of potatoes stored for processing. However, these effects can be minimised with varietal choice, careful management of store CO2 levels and a gradual introduction of ethylene’’.

Depending on the requirements of the final customer however, even the slightest change in fry colours can affect the market value of a processing crop. AgroFresh, a global AgTech innovation leader, has extensive experience in the use of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) as a ‘blocker’ of the detrimental effects that ethylene can have on a wide range of produce. Over the last few years, research has shown that applying 1-MCP to potato crops treated with ethylene can significantly minimise any negative fry colour effects.

Agrofresh Technical Manager Andrea Cucchi has been co-ordinating the 1-MCP trials on potatoes ‘’Following lab scale trials in Europe we have carried out 1-MCP R&D treatment on a number of commercial potato stores in the UK and the Netherlands. A single treatment is made after the potatoes have cured and before ethylene is introduced.’’ Results have been impressive with the 1-MCP treatment protecting a wide range of processing varieties from ethylene induced sugaring. Andrea concludes ‘The use of 1-MCP in ethylene treated potato stores has a clear benefit on processing crops. It’s easy to apply and leaves no detectable residue in the crop, boxes or store’

Simon Faulkner sees opportunities to use 1-MCP particularly on crops destined for chip shop use ‘’Along with careful store management, once registered, 1-MCP will be a useful tool to help mitigate any adverse effect that ethylene may have on the fry-colours of processing potato crops’’.

Simon Faulkner
Andrea Cucchi