Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Development of potato varieties with unique processing characteristics for the European industry.

The project is investigating and exploiting unique potato germplasm derived from research into inherent responses by the potato to cold temperature (4 degrees C) storage in terms of synthesis of detrimental reducing sugars. The development of such unique germplasm will substantially reduce the potato industry's reliance on sprout suppressants. Within the UK, approximately 30% of the ware crop is processed. The total weight of 1994 UK ware crop stored was 4.36 million tonnes, with 6,128,118 tonnes of potatoes are used within the crisp processing industry, with approx. 50% being treated. The use of suppressants to maintain tuber quality for the processing industry is increasing in EU.

Existing potato cultivators throughout the EU cannot meet quality specifications demanded when stored at 8 to 10 degrees C without chemicals (due to sprouting) or following storage at 4 degrees C (due to high sugar levels). Use of sprout suppressants has been the subject of debate, due to concern about the use of post-harvest chemicals on food products and because of concern about environmental contamination, especially downstream of processors potato washing plants. Reports from USA point to potato peel containing significant amounts of chemical residue that may be "mildly toxic. Peels of cooked potato retain up to 20 times more sprout inhibitor residue than inside of the potato."

Unique potato germplasm that can store at 4 degrees C for long periods without accruing high sugar levels is emerging from research programs, representing an innovative solution offering advantages over current potato germplasm, reducing the use of chemical sprout suppressants.

The project links well with nationally funded research within the UK, based at the SCRI, investigating the underlying biochemical pathways of carbohydrate metabolism.

Reported by

cottish Crop Research Institute
DD2 5DA Dundee
United Kingdom
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