Active Last updated: 22.11.2017
End: dec 2019
Start: aug 2016

Optimization of produce quality and storage conditions to reduce loss during long-term storage of root vegetables in Norway

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Photo: Mette Thomsen/NIBIO
Start - end date 01.08.2016 - 31.12.2019
Project manager Mette Thomsen
Division Division of Food Production and Society
Department Horticulture
Partners Toten Kålrotpakkeri, Hoppestad Gård, Ihla Samdrift DA, Sverre Huseby Furu Gård, Tor Henrik Viken, Jæren Gulrot AS, Lundstad Grønt AS, Valborg Alhaug, Bru gard, Morten Bilstad, Helge Sveinsvoll, Wiig Gartneri AS, Lågen Gulrot AS, Øyen samdrift, Simon Helge Dahl, Ole M. Tomter, Tømmerås gård, Forsetlund Nordre gård, Karl E. Rosnæs, Lars Rustad, Huuse Landbruk AS, Jøran Narum, Røstad Øvre, Egil Minde, Vangberg Gartneri, Smøla Produksjonslag, NORGRO AS, Trondheim Kulde AS, Winns AS, Biochos AS, 7Sense Products AS, Norsk Landbruksrådgiving, Gartnerhallen SA and Tommen Gram Folie AS. Research partners are NIBIO, SINTEF, NOFIMA, NMBU and University of Århus, Danmark.
Funding source Norwegian Research Council and Gartnerhallen SA

Reducing yield loss along the supply chains is important for resource sustainability in vegetable, potato and fruit production. Norwegian potatoes and root vegetables are typically stored 6 to 8 months before consumption, often resulting in 20-30% loss post harvest. Research into reduction of storage has therefore become an important issue at NIBIO and a number of ongoing projects in more horticultural produces are initiated. For a profound understanding on the factors causing loss we cooperate with a number of other research institutes as Nofima, SIntef and NMBU.

In OptiRoot 26 producers, refrigeration-technology companies, sensor developer, grower’s organisation, agricultural advisory service, and three research institutes are cooperating and conducting research to improve storage quality of carrot, swede and celeriac.

The research focuses on:

  1. Fertilizer/Boron deficiency affects the storage quality of root vegetables and amount, methods of application, and timing of boron are studied in swede and celeriac.
  2. Interaction between storage conditions/functions and produce quality of the root vegetables through mapping of technical features of 27 storages.The storage conditions recorded are relative humidity, air movement, temperature in boxes and storages, and physical features of storages. In addition, the physiological and health status of the produces are assessed one week before harvest, postharvest and post-storage. The prevalence of fungal diseases or disorders varied from region to region and between storages.
  3. Effects of pre-storage wound healing are tested using seven different temperature strategies (direct to 0° C vs. down 0.2° C per day vs. 1° C per day) and low/high humidity in carrot (2016/17/18),  celeriac and swede (2017/18/19). Preliminary results show that wound healing reduced loss due to fungal infections in carrot
  4. CO2 concentration, temperature and relative humidity were recorded over time inside carrot storage bin liners with different numbers of perforations. An initial screening indicated a positive correlation between number of holes and number of fresh roots. As a post storage method, coating of swede with chitosan oligomers will be tested to inhibit growth of post-harvest pathogens.

In conclusion, OptiRoot have gained good progress and promising preliminary results by connecting data on biology and technology for reduction of loss during long-term storage.

The key to success in OPTIROOT is based on a strong coordination between biological knowledge and technical insight connected to production, prestorage, storage and packaging.