Potato growers to finally benefit from DMN sprout suppressant

Potato growers are set to benefit from a key sprout suppressant which many in the sector see as the key replacement for chlorpropham (CIPC), which was withdrawn in 2020.

CIPC was a vital tool to control sprouting, especially in the processing sector, which relied heavily on the suppressant.

However, the withdrawal of CIPC left the industry with less-effective and more expensive alternatives, which was proving to be a particular problem for the crisping sector that relies on long-term storage.

One consequence was that the crisping sector had to bring crops in from overseas to fulfil the storage gap.

See also: How to grow potatoes using minimal tillage

But from next season British potato growers will be able to use 1,4SIGHT (1,4-Dimethylnapthalene or DMN), after gaining its long-awaited approval from the Health and Safety Executive.

ADMN was first discovered as a natural volatile gas given off by potatoes, and Scottish company DormFresh, which developed the product, said it is suitable for both the fresh and the processing sector, in all storage types and conditions.

DormFresh technical manager Ajay Jina said: “Its approval without restrictions means growers will have an important new option in their toolbox for sprout control over a full storage season. This is an important step forward for the GB potato sector.”

Applied as a hot fog, 1,4SIGHT does not just burn off the sprouts, it will stop their formation and put the tubers into a dormant state, he explained.

“This results in less weight loss during storage, and potatoes come out of store looking almost the same as when they went in.”

First identified by Harry Duncan, who discovered its standalone properties, it has been in commercial use since 1996. It is currently approved in 23 European countries, the US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Brazil.

Mr Jina, who previously worked at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, highlighted that there is a wealth of independent data on the product, and that it had been trialled at Sutton Bridge since 1999.

“We also have a lot of experience with the product in commercial stores, as it was approved for use in the Netherlands in 2015,” he said.

“Feedback from our users shows they have found 1,4SIGHT to have excellent efficacy, as well as leaving tubers with a good skin bloom and skin finish. They have also reported a reduction in compression damage and bruising.”

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