Effect of storage temperatures on the postharvest performance and sprouting of selected potato cultivars.
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Sprouting, processing and nutritional quality of potato tubers are cultivar and storage dependent. Due to the extensive choice of potato cultivars currently available in South Africa, there is a limited information on their performance under the wide range of storage temperatures. This research investigated four objectives which were to: i) review the postharvest factors affecting the potato tuber quality; ii) investigate the effect of different storage temperatures on sprouting incidence and processing attributes of the selected potato cultivars; iii) determine the effect of different storage temperatures on nutritional quality parameters of selected potato cultivars; iv) develop prediction models using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for determination of potato quality. In chapter 2, factors affecting postharvest quality of potato tubers were reviewed. It was observed that factors such as sprouting, mass loss, storage conditions and duration, and postharvest treatments have high influence on the postharvest quality of potato tubers. Sprouting was found to be the major cause of the high postharvest losses occurring in potato industry. Chapter 3 investigated the effect of storage temperatures on sprouting and processing attributes of potato tubers. The results clearly demonstrated that sprouting and processing attributes were both cultivar and storage dependent. For instance, sugars of some potato tubers were highly stimulated by cold storage whereas for sprouting it was vice-versa. The dry matter content and mass loss of potato cultivars slightly increased with storage time and temperature. In chapter 4, the effect of storage temperatures on the nutritional quality of potato tubers was investigated. In this chapter, the findings clearly proved that ascorbic acid and total phenolic content generally decreased while the antioxidant activity was increasing with storage time. Proteins in potato tuber varied based on storage temperature and cultivar. Chapter 5 sought to develop the predictive models for determination of the internal quality of potato tubers. Good models for ascorbic acid, mass loss and total phenolics for all the cultivars were developed. On the hand, poor models were developed for both sucrose and reducing sugars for all the cultivars.