, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 115-141

Suitability of Organic Potatoes for Industrial Processing: Effect of Agronomical Measures on Selected Quality Parameters at Harvest and after Storage

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Abstract

Three factorial field experiments were conducted in two consecutive years (2003 and 2004) on two sites in order to examine the impact of preceding crop, pre-sprouting, N and K fertilization and cultivar on quality attributes of organically grown potatoes destined for processing into French fries or crisps. Tuber dry matter (DM) concentration, glucose and fructose concentrations, as well as the colour of crisps and the quality score of French fries, were assessed at harvest and after a 4-month storage period. Results suggest that tubers from organic potato cropping may be expected to have sufficiently high tuber DM concentrations (>19%) for processing into French fries without impairing the texture of the fries when concentrations exceed 23%. DM concentrations of tubers for crips (cv. Marlen) fell short of the required minimum of 22% when a combined N and K fertilizer was applied. The tuber DM concentration was significantly lower following peas than following a legume-grass/clover ley or cereals (oats or winter wheat), but only in one of two seasons. Pre-sprouting increased tuber DM concentration considerably, especially in the growing season with a high incidence of Phytophthora infestans (+1.2% absolute increase). Tuber DM concentration was significantly higher after storage in two of three experiments (+0.4 and 0.5% absolute increase). Cultivars belonging to the very early and early maturity type showed the largest relative increase in reducing sugars concentrations due to storage, ranging between 300 and 1,100%. The medium-early cv. Agria and medium-late cv. Marena proved to be best suited for processing into French fries under conditions of organic farming, as only minor deviations from the highest quality standards were established at harvest (quality index at 4.3 and 4.1, respectively). A consistently high crisp quality was achieved by the medium-early cv. Marlen, with L-values of 70.8 and 66.7 at harvest and after storage, respectively. Overall, results show that the quality variables were mainly affected by cultivar, season, storage and their interaction. The effect of agronomical measures, such as fertilization, preceding crop and pre-sprouting of seed-tubers, was rather small and their effect on internal tuber quality and quality of fried products may hardly be predictable. The quality standards for tuber raw stock can be accomplished best when adequate cultivars are chosen.