Storability of Irish Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Varieties Grown in Kenya, Under Different Storage Conditions


Long-term use of fresh potatoes is constrained due to post-harvest losses and limited or poor storage systems. Loss of potato quality during storage is mostly due to weight loss, excessive sprouting, decaying, greening, pest attack and changes in sugar content which is a major concern for processors. The storability of three potato varieties namely Shangi, Unica, and Dutch Robijn was evaluated under four storage conditions: (1) room temperature (RT) (21.7 ± 5 °C) and ambient relative humidity (RH) (73.5 ± 6.7%); (2) 10 °C/75% RH; (3) 10 °C/ambient RH and (4) 7 °C/75% RH for 3 months. Parameters analysed included weight loss, sprouting, greening, rotting incidence and changes in simple sugars (sucrose, glucose and fructose) content. Shangi variety had the poorest storability having exhibited the highest weight loss, sprouting, greening and rotting rates among the varieties and in all storage conditions. In all the varieties, weight loss was highest at room temperature/RH (6.9–35.13%) and lowest at 7 °C/75% RH (1.6–3.7%). Sprouting rate was highest at RT/RH (100%) and lowest at 7 °C/75% RH (2.0–45.2%). Greening incidence was highest at RT/RH (10.3–24.0%) and lowest at 7 °C/75% RH (2.0–16.1%). The tubers accumulated simple sugars during storage with the highest relative accumulation recorded at 7 °C/75% RH. Total reducing sugars increased by 3.8–9.3-fold at RT/RH to 26.0–68.5-fold at 7 °C/75% RH. Low-temperature storage minimized the rate of physical tuber deterioration with 7 °C/75% RH best preserving the potatoes’ physical properties while it led to the highest accumulation of simple sugars.