7 November 1997

Project checks

stimulant claim

POTATO yields and grading profiles can be improved significantly by using Cargills carbohydate-based growth stimulant, Fulcrum CRV, research results suggest.

Now Edinburgh Universitys plant scientists are to examine those claims as part of a £2m European-funded project looking at the mechanisms involved in sugar metabolism and plant growth.

According to the Universitys Dr Matthieu Barrett, a carbohydrate source could trick crops into faster, more productive growth.

"A growing potato tuber starts off hungry for sugar, which it stores as starch, but then becomes the lifeline source of sugar for the shoots which give rise to new plants. Supplying carbohydrate to stimulate changes in the plants internal sugar balance could provide a massive yield benefit," he says.

"Tricking a potato plant into devoting more sugar to tuber growth compared with less-edible tissues could result in more tubers of a larger size."n