Using infrared spectroscopy to evaluate physiological ageing in stored potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)

Garnett, Jessica (2018) Using infrared spectroscopy to evaluate physiological ageing in stored potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The potato tuber is one of world’s largest food crops and in most growing regions is only harvested once a year. A proportion of tubers must therefore be stored efficiently to ensure there are enough provisions to last until the next harvest. Dormancy break during storage causes reduced tuber quality and potentially considerable losses.
The aim of this work has been to determine whether Vis/NIR Spectroscopy can be used to monitor tuber dormancy, and further, to predict the onset of sprouting within a potato tuber.
Small changes in Chlorophyll (Chl) production can be tracked in the tissue under the surface skin of a potato tuber, using a Vis/NIR spectrometer equipped with a fibre-optic probe. A static experimental setup yielded precise measurements of these subtle changes when the tuber was stimulated with light, long before visible greening occurred. It was found that there is a greater capacity for Chl production around the apical buds or “eyes” of a tuber compared with the surrounding tissue.
These results held true for several cultivars from multiple harvests over the four years of the project. The technique however is very sensitive to the exact positioning of the tuber-probe alignment, due to the highly localised area of increased activity in the Chl production under an eye and the shape of the tuber itself.
Although Chl is not produced in tubers whilst kept in cold dark storage, a tuber’s capacity to produce Chl once removed was found to change over the course of long-term storage. This behaviour was well fitted by a generalised logistic function. Prediction of the onset of dormancy break could be made from the shape of the curve from individual tuber batches. A proviso throughout is that sufficient tubers need to be analysed to obtain a meaningful batch average. The large tuber-to-tuber variance in behaviour remains the greatest challenge to translating this work into real world settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Chemistry
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2019 12:19
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 12:19

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