15 January 1999

Fruit gas cuts bruising

ETHYLENE gas, similar to that used to ripen fruit in store, can substantially cut bruising losses in spuds. Commercial applications of the MAFF-funded trial results seem viable, says BPCs Ewen Brierely.

"It seems to have reduced bruising severity and incidence. That could have a practical application for growers to treat potatoes prior to handling and grading out of store," he suggests.

Maris Piper and Pentland Dell showed 20% less bruises after a 72-hour ethylene treatment prior to simulated handling damage. Severe bruises were fewer or totally absent.

"That would reduce rejections or downgrading of loads, certainly saving the grower money. The cost of application is not prohibitive and would not be a problem in a control-led atmosphere store."

Possible fry-colour effects and the duration and concentration of gas required need further investigation, he concludes. &#42

Could a gas used to speed fruit ripening reduce potato bruising when stores are emptied? MAFF-funded work suggests it could.