A research consortium including the James Hutton Institute and the University of Southampton is to investigate ways to potato greening.
Greening is directly linked to 116,000 tonnes of potato waste each year, according to a report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the annual loses cost UK retailers £60m each year. In-field losses due to greening also cost the industry £37m each year.
Dr Mark Taylor, senior researcher at the James Hutton Institute and project lead investigator, said the project will bring together partners spanning the entire food chain, from production and packaging to major retailers.
“We aim to identify conditions for light-induced tuber greening, which in turn will inform the design of prototype packaging film to reduce greening during storage and in store. Furthermore these experiments will, with recently developed potato breeding approaches, be used to identify markers for genes associated with reduced greening providing the foundation of a longer term strategy to produce new non-greening potato varieties.”
Dr Haruko Okamoto, who is leading the University of Southampton part of the programme, added, “The opportunity to work closely with the users of our research is exciting and we hope will lead to some rapid progress in solving this food waste problem.”
The 18-month research project is partly funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and features the participation of commercial partners including as Amcor Flexibles UK Ltd, Branston Ltd, Tesco PLC and Waitrose Ltd.
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