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Innovations for fresh market spout suppression

Dr Tjaart Hofman, Certis’ Technical Marketing Manager piqued interest from the industry whilst presenting at Storage 2020 earlier this year, where he introduced a new innovation which is to be brought to the fresh market by Certis.

Dr Tjaart Hofman, Certis’ Technical Marketing Manager piqued interest from the industry whilst presenting at Storage 2020 earlier this year, where he introduced a new innovation which is to be brought to the fresh market by Certis.

“3-decen-2-one is the molecular name of the sprout suppression product that has been approved in the USA since January 2013 under the trade name of ‘Smartblock’,” outlined Dr Hofman. “It is hoped that the molecule will be brought to the European market in the next year or so.”

He explained that the treatment is based on a food grade ingredient naturally occurring in a variety of foods, and is registered in Europe as a food additive; the key advantage of this is that there will likely be no Maximum Residue Level (MRL).”

Discussing the application and the treatment’s mode of action, Tjaart noted that the sprout suppressant, “Is applied by traditional hot fogging equipment; and has been shown in research work to be very efficient in box stores with no positive ventilation. It has a good distribution through the vapour phase.

“3-decen-2-one should be applied early, but only after symptoms of dormancy break have been observed. This is a change in mind-set compared to that of CIPC, which acts preventatively so therefore needs to be applied before sprouting,” he added.  

Dr Hofman added that when using this molecule it is important for visible small sprouts to be present, as the treatment acts on the cellular membranes of the young meristematic tissue. “It disintegrates the sprout tissues, which is why they typically turn black within 24 hours after application. The sprouts then dry out and are easily brushed away.”

Ongoing trial work is continuing at Sutton Bridge into 3-decen-2-one where the treatment has been applied to UK varieties under typical storage conditions, and interim results look encouraging.

“The solution has provided the US fresh market with another tool that can be used as part of a planned approach for managing sprout suppression. It also has a good fit for box stores and can be applied in combination programmes with CIPC and maleic hydrazide for the processed market; to help extend the life of these products.”