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Alternatives to CIPC for the fresh market

This reseach report looks at treatments options, using ethylene, spearmint oil (approved in UK), DMN and orange oil (approved in EU, but not yet UK) both with and without Maleic Hydrazide (MH).

This is an on-going research project, this page looks at preliminary findings after one year of a three year project.

The varieties tested were Maris Piper, Nectar, Melody, King Edward, and each were stored for 9 months.

Store temperatures, initially at c. 13°C were pulled down at a rate of 1°C per day, until set point was reached at 4.5ֻ°C.

All results are preliminary and caution should be taken when drawing conclusions. Always consider your variety and talk to your customer before making changes to your arrangements

Preliminary observations

Maleic Hydrazide (MH)

MH provided significant sprout control activity for all varieties compared to MH-free treatment over the 9 months of storage.

MH results:

  • MH perfromed well, even used alone for storage of longer dormant varieties: MH treatment alone for both Nectar and Melody was sufficient to restrict sprouting to ~1mm after 9 months of storage.
  • Sprouting in King Edward and Maris Piper were controlled to less than 2.5mm in the presence of MH.

Alternative in-store treatments

The alternative sprout suppressant treatments tested, both those currently availale in the UK (ethylene, spearmint oil) and those awaiting approval (DMN, orange oil) showed they could provide acceptable results for pre-pack storage. Combination treatments including MH, particularly in longer dormant varieties, provided good levels of control.

  • Orange oil, ethylene and ethylene/Biox M (spearmint oil) treatments were able to control sprouting in Melody and Nectar to 1 mm or less even in the absence of MH after 9 months of storage.
  • Biox M and DMN both controlled sprouting extremely well in King Edward, Maris Piper and Melody to 9 months storage in the absence of MH. In combination with MH, sprout control for Nectar was kept below 0.5 mm after 9 months of storage

Sprouting after shelf life

MH provided significant sprout control over and above the alternative volatile treatments alone during a succeeding period of shelf life, even at 9 months of testing for all varieties. DMN was most effective volatile treatment to control sprouting during shelf life.

Weight loss

There were no observable effects of any treatment in visual appearance or weight loss.

There appeared to be an adverse interaction of DMN with the variety Melody. Melody was affected by bacterial rots.  Holland is now excluding 2 varieties on label. As ever, taking careful consideration over your variety and speaking with your customer will be vital when making adjustments to your strategy.

Summary of observations

As things stand, MH, ethylene and spearmint oil are the only approved options for storage next year. In longer dormant varieties these applied without MH may be sufficient. Integration with MH may be necessary for longer term storage of short dormant varieties. MH provided significant sprout control activity for all varieties compared to the MH-free treatments over the 9 months of storage and also during the succeeding shelf life. MH will help reduce the costs of storage being an effective sprout suppressant when residue levels are sufficient, providing synergy with post-harvest treatments, and being non-volatile, is active under conditions where other suppressant atmospheres cannot be provided or maintained. It will provide valuable control during store loading, unloading and shelf life.

Cost implications

It is stating the obvious to say that sprout control will be more expensive in 2020/21 than it was previously. Our storage cost calculator gives you the option to mannually enter your sprout control costs.

Year 1 results

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Average results - all varieties

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To be alerted when reports are available and for detail analysis of results, please visit https://ahdb.org.uk/keeping-in-touch and sign-up for our storage bulletin newsletter