It’s no surprise that potatoes are one of the most widely produced and consumed crops globally. In 2018, 368 million tons of potatoes were harvested worldwide. The United States alone is the fifth largest producer, and fourth largest consumer, of potatoes. This staple crop is packed with potassium, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin C and B6, antioxidants and prebiotics. Therefore, a critical aspect of potato farming is how to best store them following harvest.
Potatoes can be safely stored for 10-12 months, and are dependent on a number of factors including temperature, humidity, and light. For longer term storage, potatoes prefer temperatures near 39°F. The longer potatoes are stored, the more their starches break down. In temperatures below 39°F, starches begin to turn into sugars. For shorter term storage, between 45°F and 50°F is preferred.
Regardless, a dark and well-ventilated atmosphere is crucial. Apart from the natural decomposition and internal changes that potatoes may undergo during storage, factors like light are critical to monitor because potatoes have glycoalkaloids. Glycoalkaloids are naturally toxic compounds that potato plants produce to ward off pests in the field. These compounds develop more readily due to light exposure, physical damage, and over time. Thankfully, tuber flesh has the lowest percentage of glycoalkaloids, and these can be minimized with proper storage. In total, between 5-10% of potato crops are lost yearly during storage months.
Apart from proper storage practices, StorOx is an environmentally-safe bactericide/fungicide that increases shelf-life duration through minimizing spoilage. It can be used on potatoes post-harvest before and during storage to protect against bacterial ring rot, bacteria soft rot, early and late blight, fusarium tuber rot, and silver scurf. In order to do so, it can be applied via chemigation through a drip or sprinkler system. Based in hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid, it works within 60 seconds of contact to chemically break down bacteria, fungus, and mold. In trials it successfully reduced soft rot by 93%, late blight by 90%, Pythium leak by 93%, and pink rot by 95%. Despite its effectiveness, it is non-residual and biodegradable, with a 0-hour re-entry interval and 0-day post-harvest interval. Further, it is both EPA and OMRI approved.
Besides protecting potato crops in storage, StorOx can also be used as a sterilizer and disinfectant for numerous commercial, public, and private purposes. It is safe for use on many materials including stainless steel, glass, sealed wood, nylon, and PVC, to name a few. Further, it can be used in many contexts from sanitizing floors, tables and hardhats, to disinfecting harvest equipment, water filtration systems, dehumidifiers, and pasteurizers. In these applications, it can protect against E. coli, salmonella strands, and Lactobacillus malefermentans, among other bacteria and fungi. The StorOx specimen label contains precise instructions on how to properly manage bacteria and fungus in each of these applications. Clearly, this is an economical and environmentally-friendly option regardless of whether your needs are potato-related or not.