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1100004 Storage Fellowship

Publication Date: 
1 July 2015
Author/Contact :
Richard Colgan

Contractor :
Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich

Full Research Project Title: Storage Fellowship - Sustaining expertise in potato post-harvest physiology
Duration: February 2015 - June 2018


NRI at University of Greenwich, SBCSR


While chemical maturity at harvest and in particular sucrose and glucose content is already used as a measure of processing quality, other nutritional components may have a role in preventing losses during storage. Increasing variability in our weather patterns has delivered challenges to the horticulture and potato industry. In addition seasonal effects on dormancy length and sprout vigour all make it difficult to predict storage potential and scheduling strategies of the potato crop onto the UK retail and processing sector.

While chemical maturity at harvest and in particular sucrose and glucose content is already used as a measure of processing quality  there is a need  to develop further techniques  at harvest to  quantify the storage potential of potatoes and in particular identify consignments that go on to develop poor processing or quality problems during storage. 

Techniques such as chemical maturity (DM, Sucrose, Glucose and Fructose), mineral content and antioxidant status at harvest used alongside measurements of tuber porosity and respiration may help to identify field consignments that may develop problems during storage. This will provide additional tools to help the industry better predict the storage behaviour of potato consignments and allow for more accurate characterisation of crops for short- medium and longer-term storage life.


Aim: To build and staff a research programme that can deliver improved strategies for the management of potato storage, and initiate a research programme on the effects of mineral nutrition and tuber respiration/diffusion characteristics on storage potential of tubers.

The fellowship will train an early career scientist in techniques of potato storage physiology/biochemistry and project development and complements the current PhD studentship on senescent sweetening (project reference 115R474).

Storage trials will involve a comparison of two cultivar with differing sensitivities to low temperature sweetening. Tubers will be sampled at harvest for sugars and mineral including Calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Potato tubers will be sampled at intervals for sugars and minerals and fry colour analysis during storage.

In year 2-3 a small scale field trial will look at phosphate application on tuber quality, sugars and starch quality, tubers stored at 2°C and sampled periodically for changes in sugar and starch profiles.  Field trials investigating the effect calcium uptake in senescent sweetening prone variety using granular calcium formulation and/or new foliar formulations will be tested in replicated plots. The impact of potassium antagonism on calcium availability will also be tested. Samples will be tested for sugars and mineral content at harvest and sugar profiles tested during storage.


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