VENTILATING POTATO stores sooner after a CIPC application can help improve the fry colour of processing potatoes, latest research has shown.

Earlier ventilation reduces the effects of gases on potato tuber sugar contents and lessens the impact on fry colour, according to the British Potato Council‘s Sutton Bridge Experimental Unit.

Ethylene, which is produced in exhaust gases when CIPC is applied by fogging, can impact on the sugar content of tubers – a major factor in fry quality, said the BPC‘s Adrian Briddon.

“Petrol does not burn particularly efficiently and ethylene seems to be a by-product emitted in the exhaust which is known to interfere with sugar levels in potatoes,” he said.

Research found tuber sugar levels increased very quickly after fogging before declining sharply, but not as low as the original level, he explained.

Further CIPC applications via fogging could therefore encourage a cumulative deterioration in fry colour, he said.

But, early applications were relatively benign in terms of their impact on fry colour, whereas later treatments potentially had a bigger effect, Mr Briddon said.

The worst fry colours were seen 2-7 days after application, he noted.

The changes made by chemical manufacturers represented a “major breakthrough” in improving processed potato quality, he said.

Mr Briddon referred to the recent introduction of Gro-Stop 100, which allows earlier store ventilation, thus reducing the impact of ethylene on sugar contents.