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The Combined Effect of CO2 and Ethylene Sprout Inhibitor on the Fry Colour of Stored Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.)


Recently, it has been shown that the darkening of potato processing colour attributable to a trace concentration of ethylene gas is more severe when CO2 is also elevated. In view of the increasing use of ethylene gas for sprout suppression in potato storage facilities, it was considered important to determine whether this effect also occurs at the much higher ethylene concentration used in commercial practice. Sprouting and processing colour of the French fry cultivars Russet Burbank, Shepody and Innovator and the potato crisp cultivar Dakota Pearl were tested during the November to June storage season of two consecutive years. Treatments were 0 or 2 kPa CO2 and 0 or 10 μL L−1 ethylene in a factorial design, plus a chlorpropham check. The 0 CO2 + 0 ethylene treatment constituted an untreated control. The ethylene exposure was commenced abruptly to maximize its effect on colour. The main effect of ethylene resulted in darker processing colour in all cultivars, whereas darkening attributable to the main effect of CO2 was observed only in Innovator and Dakota Pearl. The statistical interaction of the CO2 and ethylene was not significant except in Dakota Pearl Hunter a (redness) scores, although a tendency to darker colour when both gases were present was seen in Russet Burbank and Innovator at all evaluation dates. The results indicate that both gases can affect processing colour when ethylene is used to control sprouting, although considerable variability in the response exists among cultivars. This variability in combination with management of storage conditions such as temperature and CO2 can be utilized to minimize the impact of these gases on the processing colour of stored potatoes.

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The author wishes to thank Drs. P Struik and R Prange for expert guidance and mentoring, S Fillmore for assistance and advice in statistical analyses, Dr. J DeLong for reviewing the manuscript and K Hiltz, S Bishop and K Munro Pennell for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Barbara J. Daniels-Lake.

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Daniels-Lake, B.J. The Combined Effect of CO2 and Ethylene Sprout Inhibitor on the Fry Colour of Stored Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). Potato Res. 56, 115–126 (2013).

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  • Chip colour
  • Processing colour