USDA's Agricultural Research Service at the Sugarbeet and Potato Research Lab in Fargo, ND, is seeking a business partner to help get a patent license or cooperative agreement to commercialize a new potato sprouting-control technology.
Under the research of chemist Edward Lulai, two chemicals have been identified as alternatives to the currently used synthetic chemical CIPC. This product is most commonly used by the potato industry in controlling sprouting on stored tubers.
One is based on jasmonates, natural compounds responsible for characteristic aroma of jasmine flowers. Only minute amounts of the compound are needed to control sprouting, according to the ARS. The treatment also improves the color of potatoes processed into chips and fries.
The second is certain aromatic acids to delay sprouting. Lulai says both methods could be economically feasible, especially for niche markets such as organically grown potatoes.
However, as with CIPC, the ARS says exact application protocols need to be studied and routine food-safety approval issues addressed before the products are ready for use.