The objective of the project is to develop an improved technique for the (long-term) storage of potatoes, to extend their shelf life, to improve the quality (of the potato for the processing industry) and vitality (of the seed potato), and premature detection of any storage problems (rotting, sweetening, sprouting). A connection is also made between the cultivation conditions and storage which allows for a better prediction of the shelf life in the future.
Linking respiration dynamics as a biomarker to a regulation system for potato storage, which also includes cultivation factors, is new in the scientific domain. An efficient use of this storage method will lead to further reduction in cost in the chain due to more efficient cultivation and processing. The guarantee of a homogenous and high quality product means that "preferred suppliership" will be possible for the potato sector. Using this new method, the potato sector can strengthen its leading position in Europe in relation to shelf-life performance. After all, it means that more potatoes of a higher quality will be offered to the market, with lower energy consumption, and fewer losses. This will contribute to an efficient use of energy and resources, and to increased production on current farmland.
Improving the shelf life
This project will lead to new methods (concepts) to improve the shelf life of potatoes for the processing industry and for seed potatoes. The concept uses information about cultivation and crop management as well as information about the metabolic activity of the product during harvesting, and the state of the product is continuously monitored during storage. Storage conditions are interactively optimised to minimise the metabolic activity of the product. In this way, the storage time can be increased without significant loss of important quality aspects (weight loss, sweetening, germinating power), and insight into possible problems with the quality will be gained at an early stage.