Research reports on potato storage

AHDB Potatoes  funded an extensive programme of research on all aspects of potato storage. The projects have been categorised according to the topics covered.

Some topics, such as sprout suppression, have their own pages listing the relevant projects

Click on a project title below to see more information and download the final report

Alternative sprout suppressants

The loss of CIPC for the control of sprouting during storage (in 2020) placed greater emphasis on the other tools available to store managers including alternative sprout suppressants, variety choice and store management practices.

11140056 Maleic hydrazide - optimisation as a sprout suppressant(2017-2022)

  • variation in MH residue between tubers
  • determine the residue concentration required for control of sprout growth

11140057 Integrating alternative sprout suppressants for the fresh market (2018-2022)

  • comparative efficacy of a range of sprout suppression treatments (with or without prior treatment with maleic hydrazide): ethylene, spearmint oil, orange oil, 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene (DMN) on a range of pre-pack varieties.

11140043 Integrating alternative sprout suppressants for the processing market (2017-2022)

  • maleic hydrazide (MH), spearmint oil, ethylene, 1-4 dimethylnaphthalene (DMN)
  • sprouting and fry colour assessments

R438 Reducing post-harvest losses and wastage in UK potato storage due to sprouting (2010-2014)

  • caraway oil (S-carvone), clove oil (eugenol), spearmint oil (R-carvone), 3-decen-2-one, and UVC treatment

R426 Reducing energy usage and wastage by improving ethylene control of potato sprouting (2009-2012)

  • studies of molecular mechanism of ethylene effects on sprout growth (to identify the key potato genes and facilitate the development of markers for the genes)
  • effect of the combination of ethylene and other plant growth regulators on sprout suppression and sugar accumulation (spearmint oil (R-carvone), 1-MCP, DMN, methyl jasmonate)

Tuber dormancy

11140058 Understanding dormancy rankings of potato (2018-2022)

  • relative dormancy of varieties

11140028 Controlling dormancy & sprouting in potato & onion (2013-2017)

  • use of quantitative trait locus analysis to identify the locations on the potato genome that control length of dormancy.
  • identification of key controlling genes
  • analysis of hormones and metabolites during dormancy and sprouting

Tuber respiration

114R484 The effect of temperature on tuber respiration (2013-2017)

  • tubers stored at temperatures between 1.0oC and 20oC for up to seven months with respiration rate measured at monthly intervals

 Storage disorders (senescent sweetening, blackheart)

11140024 Elucidating the mechanisms of senescent sweetening in stored potato tubers to improve storage regimes and identify candidate genes (2016-2019)

  • sugar content and fry colour monitored to identify the transition to senescent sweetening
  • gene expression of >40,000 genes determined using microarray technologies
  • changes in expression of key genes determined using RT-PCR

1100004 Storage fellowship - effect of calcium and phosphorus nutrition on potato storage quality (2015-2018)

  • field application of phosphate and calcium at planting to reduce low-temperature and senescent sweetening

11140014 PhD: Understanding mechanisms and identifying markers for the onset of senescent sweetening (2013-2016)

  • tuber respiration, biomechanical and biochemical properties monitored during storage, to provide a better understanding of the processes leading to senescent sweetening

R442 Senescent sweetening in potatoes: literature review (2012)

R456 Investigation of blackheart in stored potatoes (2011-2015)

  • risk factors for blackheart development
  • grower guidance document

 Store management, tuber diseases and skin finish

11120031 Improved Seed Management to Minimise Losses Due to Pectobacterium species (2017-2020)

  • review of how storage conditions affect the numbers of bacteria on tubers
  • testing mini-tubers for Pectobacterium atrosepticum (Pba)
  • pot trials to understand the relative importance of soil vs aerial contamination of seed
  • studying seed crops grown in isolation (on Orkney)
  • monitoring Pre-Basic stocks during storage, handling and transport
  • the toxicity of salt to Pectobacterium species in lab conditions

 R458 Storage at warmer temperatures: effect on potato physiology and skin finish (2011-2014)

  • effects of storage regimes and temperature combinations on skin blemish diseases, tuber respiration rates, sprouting and weight loss, fry colour
  • cost-benefit analysis for warmer potato storage

R457 Improved store management of diseases affecting seed tubers and its effects on the subsequent crop (2011-2012)

  • effects of different storage regimes on seed-borne diseases
  • Fusarium coeruleum (dry rot), Helminthosporium solani (silver scurf) and Phoma exigua foveata (gangrene)

R253 Improving decision making for the management of potato diseases using real-time predictive diagnostics (2004-2008)

  • sampling tubers from boxes in store
  • high throughput detection, quantification and identification of Pectobacterium and Dickeya populations on potato tuber stocks
  • relationship between Pectobacterium atrosepticum (Pba) levels on seed and on progeny tubers

R249/R400 Developing effective integrated control measures for the control of black dot (2004-2009)

  • crop duration and soil inoculum to and risk of black dot developing during storage
  • RealTime PCR diagnostic test to quantify the level of Colletotrichum coccodes in soil and tubers
  • role of seed vs soil inoculum in causing disease
  • measurements of crop stress
  • impact of post-harvest storage regime on disease development.

 807/224 Application of recent developments in Erwinia diagnostics for a better understanding of the biology of seed stock contamination and blackleg control (2001-2004)

  • interpreting diagnostic results for the selection and management of seed stocks.
  • effect of irrigation and level of bacterial seed tuber contamination on blackleg levels
  • effect of seed tuber bacterial contamination on crop growth, emergence, ground cover, physiological aging, yield and tuber number
  • effect of roguing on development of blackleg and contamination of daughter tubers
  • storage conditions and bacterial tuber contamination

 R284 Evaluating the efficacy of a screen humidity cell in filtering pathogens out of air in potato stores (2006)

  • comparison of the Munters HM2 4000 and an ultrasonic nozzle humidifier and quantification of the number of fungi and bacteria in store air

807/222 Improving the understanding and management of skin set, bloom and netting in potatoes (2001-2005)

  • N and skin set
  • seed maturity, planting and harvest date and skin bloom
  • crop duration and black dot

807/236 Managing maturity to improve crop processing quality and storage (2002-2005)

  • storage temperature and processing quality

Energy use

R439 Reducing the energy use and carbon footprint of GB potato storage (2010-2013)

  • energy use in commercial potato stores; variability across sites and seasons and the energy uses responsible for the variation
  • review of published carbon footprinting methods

R401 Reducing the energy cost of potato storage: benchmarking the performance of commercial stores (2007-2010)

  • benefits of simple storage energy monitoring
  • case studies summarising the comparative performance of different stores

R402 Assessment of the impact of inverter use in relation to store performance (air delivery and effects on potato quality) 2007-2010.

  • assessments of airflows and crop quality