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Sweet-smelling spuds stop sprouting

作者:恽兑    发布时间:2019-02-28 05:16:07    

By Jonathan Beard THE chemicals that give jasmine flowers their wonderful fragrance may soon be used to keep the humble spud in tiptop condition. Chemists at the US Department of Agriculture have been fumigating potato bins with jasmonates – the compounds responsible for the heady aroma of jasmine flowers. Jasmonates could prevent millions of dollars’ worth of spuds from going to waste due to sprouting, says Edward Lulai of the USDA’s Red River Valley Potato Research Laboratory at East Grand Forks, Minnesota. “Sprouting tubers soften and lose weight, leading to spoilage,” he says. “Also, the potatoes change much of their starch into sugars, and high sugar content in raw potatoes results in French fries and crisps with an unattractive brown colour.” Lulai and colleagues treated potatoes with varying concentrations of several jasmonates and jasmonic acid. They then monitored how these potatoes fared compared with those treated with a commercial sprout inhibitor based on chloroisopropyl phenyl carbamate. “We found that jasmonates, when applied according to our protocol, worked just as well to inhibit sprouting, even at much lower concentrations than CIPC,” says Lulai. Jasmonates are already available from chemicals companies and Lulai says they are considered to be nontoxic. Lulai and his colleagues have patented the use of jasmonates for preserving potatoes. The next step will be for the food-processing industry to test the technology on a commercial scale. According to Lulai, potatoes treated in this way do not end up smelling of jasmine. “These are fairly volatile compounds and dissipate quickly,

 

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