Scientists Test Weapon Against Potato MicrobesBy Marcia Wood
December 23, 1996
A new weapon against microorganisms that attack potatoes in storage is the goal of a cooperative research and development agreement between the Agricultural Research Service and an Oklahoma company.
Scientists with ARS and Bio-Cide International, Inc., Norman, Okla., will determine whether a chlorine dioxide-based solution will protect stored tubers from microbes that cause spoilage.
Of special concern: A new strain of late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, may increase stored tubers' susceptibility to rots. Before they are sold in supermarkets or processed into chips, fries or other popular potato products, tubers may spend up to 10 months in storage.
In lab and field experiments, ARS food safety scientists in California, a potato researcher with ARS in Idaho, and Bio-Cide researchers will pinpoint safe, effective dosages of the top-performing chlorine dioxide-based mixture. They will also determine optimum conditions for applying it and best techniques for its use by growers and processors. Bio-Cide anticipates regulatory approval by fall 1997.
Scientific contact: Lee S. Tsai, Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CA (510) 559-5878