Science Into Practice - Broccoli storage

Most vegetables are botanically roots, leaves, stems, seeds or fruits. Broccoli is a flower bud, so the grower has a difficult task aiming for prolonged storage.

In HDC project FV 395, Richard Colgan at the University of Greenwich worked with Produce World over three seasons (2011-13) to investigate ways of keeping broccoli fresh for longer.

The research found that azoxystrobin, when applied as a fungicide near the end of crop life, delayed the onset of senescence. Its effect depended on the health of the crop and varied with the season.

Ethylene in stores, mainly from forklift trucks, hastened senescence of broccoli. Conversely, ethylene scrubbing improved shelf life. It also reduced the decline in Vitamin C content in storage. Variety matters - Ironman responded much better than Parthenon to ethylene scrubbing.

There is usually more commercial advantage from aiming for prolonged storage under reduced ethylene when the crop is not stressed in the field, is cut relatively immature and is of a small beaded variety. Brassicas other than broccoli can also benefit.

Ethylene can be scrubbed using 1-MCP (SmartFreshTM), as in the Greenwich study, but also using ultraviolet light extractors or cells containing ozone or potassium permanganate. Costs vary. Growers are likely to need specialist advice before modifying storage to include ethylene scrubbing. Those who can provide this service include, Greentech Consult, Freshpod, Nutricycle and Phoenix Retail Services.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will the fresh-produce growing season pan out with less labour?

How will the fresh-produce growing season pan out with less labour?

The new fresh-produce season is around the corner and Brexit just over a year away, yet the Government has still given no indication that it will enable seasonal workers to come to the UK in the volumes the sector requires, either in this season or any other.

What recent developments can help growers fight orchard pests and diseases?

What recent developments can help growers fight orchard pests and diseases?

Last week's British Independent Fruit Growers Association Technical Day (31 January), heard about the latest research in orchard pests and diseases and how to deal with them.

Is a move away from plastic produce packaging now inevitable?

Is a move away from plastic produce packaging now inevitable?

A tipping point has been reached in the attitude of retailers and the Government to waste plastic which is likely to affect suppliers' future packaging options.