UK potato industry set to benefit from new method for maintaining fry colour following successful trials

Simon Faulkner says StoreGuard can prevent the negative effects that ethylene can have on fry-colours.

Simon Faulkner says StoreGuard can help prevent the negative effects of ethylene on potato fry colour

The exclusive UK distributor of StoreGuard, a new method of maintaining the fry colour of potatoes, is preparing for its first full season.

Biofresh Safestore secured the UK marketing rights to StoreGuard in November 2023 following approval from the Chemicals Regulations Division (CRD). It is now actively promoting the approach to UK potato growers and processors based on four years of trial data.

Manufactured by chemicals company AgroFresh, StoreGuard uses a synthetic plant growth regulator called 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to counter the change in fry colour.

This change in colour can sometimes occur in potatoes stored for processing when ethylene is used as a sprout inhibitor.

However, StoreGuard is only applied early in the storage process, before ethylene treatment begins. Afterwards, soluble tablets of StoreGuard are introduced to an activator solution in pouches placed in the store.

As well as maintaining fry colour, StoreGuard can also protect the stored crop from the ‘shock’ of introducing ethylene. This reduces transpiration rates and, in turn, weight loss and store fan times.

Director of operations at Biofresh Safestore, Jeremy Barraclough, said: “Combining SafeGuard with the ethylene-based Safestore system is a highly effective way of both suppressing sprouting and countering the effects on fry colour that some varieties can experience when treated with ethylene.”

He added: “With both SafeGuard and SafeStore, there is no detectable residue on the potatoes, and the data from the commercial trials conducted under an experimental licence in Europe show the benefits of applying 1-MCP.”

Independent agronomist and director of SDF Agriculture, Simon Faulkner, commented: “StoreGuard has been shown to protect some processing potato varieties against the potential negative effects that ethylene can have on fry colours.”

Faulkner has been involved in the commercial trials of StoreGuard over the last three years. He continued: “Applied before ethylene treatment commences, the benefits of StoreGuard typically last through to April.

“Combined with the careful introduction of ethylene and managing carbon dioxide levels, StoreGuard can help to maintain processing potato quality during storage.”