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The benefits of ethylene for table potatoes

Ethylene is one of the most effective sprout inhibitors for storage potatoes. The method is cheap, easy to use and can be applied independently by growers. Still, there are some myths surrounding the method; often distributed by representatives of other means. What are the facts? In this series, researchers, users and customers talk about their experiences with ethylene sprout inhibition. This time: the benefits of ethylene for table potatoes.

Ethylene in combination with MH (Malein hydrazide) is suitable as a sprout inhibitor for table potatoes. Restrain concludes this on the basis of retail experiences in France and England. Restrain therefore recommends the combined method for consumption potatoes in the Dutch chain from now on.

Ethylene successful for table potatoes

Restrain is frequently used as a sprout inhibition method for potatoes for the processing industry and as a seed potato improver. “It is known that ethylene is an excellent sprout inhibitor in the storage shed,” says Dirk Garos, director of Restrain. “There is only doubt about the use of ethylene sprout inhibition in table potatoes on shelves.” Since a few years, however, potatoes in the field have often been sprayed with the plant growth regulator MH. “We have followed customers and their customers using a combination of MH and ethylene very closely for two years. This shows that inhibition on the shelf occurs only to a very limited extent if the combination is used. We have even seen results of longer shelf life compared to CIPC sprout inhibition alone.”

A cheaper alternative

The effectiveness of the combined method is good news for table potato growers and suppliers. Since the European ban on the chemical sprout inhibitor CIPC, field treatment with MH is often a standard part of the sprout inhibitors used. To prevent sprouting during storage, the chain was often tied to expensive alternative means. Garos: “Sprout inhibition with Restrain is six to eight times cheaper than other sprout inhibitors; that saves up to ten euros per ton of potatoes per storage period. Restrain can also be used in warm-up warehouses and packing stations because the product is odor and residue free, unlike the alternatives. In addition, no skin burns can occur during use.”

Garos hopes that table potato suppliers will consider the new combination. “Since the ban on CIPC, the potato sector has been developing continuously. That is why it is wise to regularly explore new possibilities. This combination of sprout inhibitors not only offers table potato suppliers financial benefits, but is also environmentally friendly and efficient.”

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