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Introducing Restrain’s brand new Podcast

Restrain is thrilled to announce the launch of our exciting new podcast! With years of experience in administering ethylene gas for the suppression of sprouts in potatoes and onions, we are now expanding our reach to the United States and Canada. Join us for the inaugural episode of our podcast, where we delve into the world of Restrain and explore the array of innovative products we offer.

In today’s episode, we will shed light on the remarkable benefits of Accumulator treatment and how it can revolutionize your potato program. Get ready to unlock the potential of ethylene gas and gain valuable insights from industry experts.

Welcome to the Restrain Podcast!

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Using ethylene treatment for sprout control in potatoes – Restrain’s accumulator


Hello, everyone. I’m Emily Merk, sales manager at Restrain, and I’m joined by Adrian Briddon, Technical Manager. Restrain is a company based in Europe that specializes in providing clean gas treatment for potatoes, onions, and other produce to control sprouting. Although new to the US and Canada, we have been successfully operating in Europe and the UK for over two decades. Today, we will discuss the benefits of Restrain’s accumulator treatment for potato programs.

Background and ethylene treatment

Adrian, our Technical Manager, has been with Restrain since its inception. The company originated in the UK around 25 years ago through research into alternatives to CIPC (Chlorpropham), a common sprout suppressant for potatoes. This research led to the development of Restrain, which now operates from a factory in the Netherlands and serves more than 40 countries. Restrain offers sprout control solutions for potatoes, onions and other produce, along with a seed treatment known as the accumulator. The accumulator treatment came into existence as a result of discovering that stored potatoes treated with Restrain not only sprouted but also produced more stems and tubers, hence the name “accumulator.”

Understanding the accumulator treatment and temperature’s role

The accumulator treatment lasts between 90 and 120 days before planting. It involves administering ethanol through a catalyst to produce ethylene gas, which is maintained in the storage facility for the entire treatment duration. This safe process allows the store manager to remain actively involved by regularly inspecting the stores and maintaining the ethylene levels.

Temperature plays a vital role in breaking dormancy and promoting sprouting. A slight increase in store temperature, typically around 1 to 3 degrees, encourages more eyes to open and assists in breaking dormancy. In conventional seed storage, the youngest eye, known as the apical eye, usually breaks dormancy first. However, cold storage can inhibit its development, leading to multi-sprouting. By raising the temperature slightly, all sprouts can be kept small, preventing one sprout from asserting dominance over others. Here, ethylene gas plays a crucial role in maintaining small sprout sizes.

Inspecting the treated potatoes and planting after treatment

Storage managers inspect the treated potatoes for “eye movement,” ensuring that the seed pieces develop buds without fully sprouting. Once the desired bud development is achieved, the seed requires at least three clear days before planting. Ethylene gas can then be switched off, or the seed can be removed from the storage facility.

Potential effects and reversibility of ethylene treatment

There are no significant negative effects associated with the accumulator treatment. Some potato varieties respond better than others, while a few may show no response at all. During the treatment period, storage managers must monitor sprouting to avoid excessive growth. If large sprouts are present on the seed basis during movement, they may get knocked off, defeating the purpose of the treatment.

The use of ethylene gas as a sprout inhibitor is entirely reversible. As soon as the seed is removed from the storage environment or the ethylene is removed from the store, the tubers “de-gas,” resuming growth at a normal rate within three days.

Research findings and applications

Trials conducted on two potato varieties, Hermes and Tyson, demonstrated that the accumulator treatment resulted in a 20% increase in tuber numbers. Hermes is commonly used for crisps in the UK and chips in the USA, while Tyson is a table variety. The accumulator treatment proves particularly beneficial for increasing tuber numbers in both these varieties.


The accumulator treatment offered by Restrain provides an effective solution for sprout control in potato programs. With its reversible and safe nature, this treatment ensures successful germination once the seed is out of the ethylene environment. Growers in various sectors of the potato industry, such as seed for seed and seed for maize production, can benefit from the accumulator treatment.

For more information about Restrain and our products, visit our website, follow us on Twitter, or stay updated on our LinkedIn posts, which feature all our trials. Feel free to reach out with any questions during the upcoming PAA meeting in Prince Edward Island.

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It's time to try ethylene gas