Potato Storage and Cooking Quality
Once the crop has been harvested the story does not end. Damaged or infected potatoes going into store will produce significant losses during storage.
The appropriate storage temperature depends on the potato market
- Seed potatoes are stored at low temperatures, around 2 - 4˚C, to minimize decay and to control the physiological age of the tubers.
- Fresh market potatoes are kept at around 3 - 5˚C to minimize weight loss and maintain a fresh, good-looking tuber.
- French fry and chipping potatoes need to be stored at higher temperatures; 7 - 9˚C, to minimize the level of reducing sugars. Reducing sugars accumulate below and above 9˚C, and the changes induced by higher temperatures are irreversible.
Crop nutrition is essential
The nutrients below have important effects on potato storage and cooking quality:
- Potassium - affects bruising, enzymatic blackening and after-cooking blackening
- Calcium - helps prevent storage rots caused by Erwinia spp and also skin diseases
- Boron - may reduce enzymatic blackening
- Magnesium - may reduce enzymatic blackening
Growers can also influence potato storage and cooking quality by
- Selecting the right variety with the right cooking quality for the market.
- Irrigation scheduling to maximize quality characteristics.
- Minimizing damage during harvesting.
- Using in-store treatments (e.g. fungicides) to reduce tuber disease build-up.
- Controlling temperatures in storage.
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Influencing Potato Dry Matter Content
Dry matter content is important for both fresh markets and processing. Nitrogen, potassium and magnesium nutrition can influence tuber dry matter content.
Reducing Incidence of Potato Soft Rots
Soft rots are a range of warm weather bacterial diseases, usually Erwinia spp, that enter the tubers through mechanical damage and rots the tubers in storage.
Reducing Potato Tuber Bruising
Potato bruising is a serious problem in the potato industry and is a major cause of consumer complaint and an economic drain on the industry.
Role of Calcium in Potato Production
Calcium is a key component of cell walls, helping to build a strong structure and ensuring cell stability.