Organic Inhibition of Potato Sprouts
Wei Xie
Norma Rose Point School
Floor Location : J 206 H

Potatoes are the third largest crop. Yet still sprouting poses a major concern in the storage of potatoes as it can cause softening, weight loss and increased toxicity in the affected potatoes. Synthetic chemicals such as chlorpropham are commonly used in the commercial storage of potato crops. Due to restrictions on organic food products, organic methods for sprout prevention are desired. A known organic solution presents itself through the application of essential oils. Especially spearmint, peppermint and clove essential oils have been studied due to their high efficacy. These plant essential oils lend their sprout inhibiting abilities to their high concentrations of eugenol and carvone, organic compounds that have been found to disrupt plant cell growth. However, these oils are expensive and very concentrated, causing abnormal odour and taste.
This project investigates a cost-effective alternative to the plant essential oils more suited to the consumer storage of potatoes. Instead of using the pure essential oils of these plants, these plants were drenched in regular cooking oil to extract the compounds of the plants.
The effectiveness of Chrysanthemum flowers for potato sprout inhibition was investigated for the first time. Chrysanthemum lends itself well to this purpose due to its high carvone content, low cost and mild odour.
The drenched oil mixtures produced from peppermint and spearmint leaves, clove and Chrysanthemum flowers were applied to various species of potatoes through slow evaporation. Through a one month period the drenched oils were found to have inhibited all sprout growth with the exception of peppermint.
These methods can help lessen the organic concerns associated with traditional potato crop storage and are more practical for the consumer, as they are more cost-effective and have been tested under a normal environment for the consumer.