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Alternatives to CIPC for the processing sector

This reseach report looks at 8 treatments options, using ethylene, spearmint oil (approved in UK) and DMN (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 Innovator, Maris Piper, Performer, Royal and VR808 - measurerments were taken after 8 months storage. Fry colour was measured for potatoes processed as chips/French fries. Tubers were held at target temperatures of 9.0 degrees 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

A definite benefit from MH was seen across the trial. MH was very effective in Innovator and VR808 where applications resulted in high residue levels. Additional post-harvest treatments were not required to limit sprout growth of these stocks to a commercially acceptable standard. MH also reduced sprouting in Maris Piper and Royal, but additional treatments were required to maintain low sprouting levels. MH was least effective in Performer, with application of MH resulting in little reside concentration and relatively little sprout control.

Alternative sprout suppressants

The effectiveness of ethylene varied between varieties. It was most effective at controlling sprouting in Maris Piper and VR808 with a sprout length of 5-10mm. However some varieties don’t respond to ethylene and ethylene treatment was less effective in Royal and Performer where sprouting was 15-25mm. It’s important to consider this when choosing your sprout control options (ethylene is a plant hormone so brings out differences between varieties). We are conducting more work into varietal reaction to ethylene, which will be published when we have the results.

Spearmint oil was also influenced by variety. Sprout length was controlled to 12 – 20mm in Maris Piper, Innovator, Royal and Performer, but control was better in VR808 with mean sprout length of 8mm.

The combination treatments of spearmint oil and ethylene generally resulted in better sprout control than spearmint oil and ethylene alone.

DMN was the most effective of the post-harvest treatments and provided very good control, but needs to be managed carefully. Its success in sprout control was not effected by cultivar or pre-treatment with MH.

Fry colours

With the caveat that these are preliminary results, we have not seen any effects on fry for spearmint oil or DMN, but some with ethylene. Fry colour affects with ethylene are linked to varietal reaction - so extra care will be needed to consider your variety before choosing treatment options.

In summary

Early indications are that it will be possible to acheive commercially acceptable sprout control using the options available given the effective use of MH in combination with an in store treatment. Considering your variety and making contact with your customer will be vital 

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.

Results from Year 1

To be alerted when reports are available and for detail analysis of results, please visit and sign-up for our storage bulletin newsletter