Postharvest Storage

Cold Store DoorElucidating the mechanisms of senescent sweetening in stored potato tubers to improve storage regimes and identify candidate genes.

PhD studentship awarded by AHDB with contribution from PepsiCo.

In long-term storage potato tubers accumulate reducing sugars in a process known as senescent sweetening representing a significant problem for processors due to dark fry colour and the potential for acrylamide production. Almost nothing is known regarding the mechanisms underlying senescent sweetening and the present project aims to elucidate those mechanisms providing early warning markers of sweetening, pointers for improved storage regimes and a basis for breeding sweetening resistance.

Physiological, biochemical and transcriptomic analysis indicates that senescent sweetening is associated with a reduced capacity for starch resynthesis that is developmentally programmed. Ongoing work is attempting to identify the controls of this developmental programme.

Contact: Rob Hancock