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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 684: Meeting of the Physiology Section of the European Association for Potato Research

EFFECTS OF CONTINUOUS ETHYLENE TREATMENT ON POTATO TUBERS: HIGHLIGHTS OF 14 YEARS OF RESEARCH

Authors:   R.K. Prange, B.J. Daniels-Lake, K. Pruski
Keywords:   sprout inhibition, fry colour, polyamines, re-conditioning, 1-MCP, abscission, seed tuber performance, organic
Abstract:
In 1990, four Canadian French fry companies, led by McCain Foods Ltd., contracted with AAFC in Kentville to research and develop an acceptable replacement for CIPC. Ethylene was included in the study, initially to induce and accelerate the sprouting of ‘Russet Burbank’, a long-dormancy cultivar. The ethylene, which was applied continuously during the entire storage period, unexpectedly controlled sprouting. Protection of this discovery through patenting was attempted but abandoned after the U.S. Patent office rejected the application on the basis of prior art in the existing published literature. Our subsequent research has examined various aspects of this discovery including the effect of cultivar; concentration, timing and duration of ethylene application; and the effect of 1-MCP on the ethylene-induced responses. The effect of ethylene on various horticulturally-relevant tuber responses will be reviewed, e.g., first appearance of sprouts, sprout growth and abscission, fry colour, tuber re-conditioning, seed tuber performance and induction of polyamines. This research has provided researchers with new evidence of the role of ethylene in sprouting, sugar metabolism and fry colour, and its interaction with polyamines. Canadian commercial trials have been conducted resulting in Canadian government registration in 2002. It is in commercial use in the U.K. based on conditional approval in 2003. These developments suggest ethylene could be a viable commercial alternative to CIPC.
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