Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit
Title: Ethylene Gas in Storage Author
Submitted to: Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 25, 2010
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Citation: Bethke, P.C. 2010. Ethylene Gas in Storage [abstract]. Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings. 23:43-45. Technical Abstract: Ethylene is a small volatile organic molecule that is produced by plants and many microbes. Potato tubers sense ethylene at concentrations of less than 1 ppm and respond to ethylene in ways that may be beneficial or detrimental for potato tuber storage. High concentrations of ethylene suppress sprout growth and ethylene at ~10 ppm can be used for residue-free sprout control. At lower concentrations, ethylene promotes sprouting, and there may be advantages to treating potato seed tubers with ethylene, although this technology has not been developed. Processing potatoes exposed to ethylene may respond with and increase in reducing sugar content that results in undesirable darkening of products such as French fries and potato chips that are produced by high temperature frying. Because of the potential for adverse effects of ethylene on processing potatoes, we initiated research to determine if ethylene accumulated in modern, ventilated potato storages. The approach used will be described as well as results showing that ethylene accumulation does occur. Ethylene in the storage atmosphere was found to be more prevalent in tuber samples infected with rot producing pathogens. Additional volatile organics associated with pathogenic rot have been detected, and these may have the potential to be biomarkers for pathogen activity.