Science Into Practice - Reducing loss in radish crops

Pre and post-harvest splitting in radishes results in significant product wastage.

Splits can be as high as 30 per cent on arrival at the packhouse, exceeding imposed supermarket tolerances of 10 per cent. Affected batches often have to be sorted by hand. Despite these problems, the issue has received very little investigation.

HDC Studentship CP 083 - Minimising post-harvest losses in radish through an understanding of preand post-harvest factors that influence root splitting - is being undertaken by PhD student Rachel Lockley at Harper Adams University.

It aims to identify preand postharvest factors affecting splitting in radish by looking at varietal susceptibility, the effect of water availability on splitting and the effect of radish hypocotyl water content on the susceptibility of postharvest splitting.

To date, results indicate that those cultivars with thinner periderms tend to split less than those with thicker ones. There was a positive correlation between splitting and high water content at the secondary stage of thickening in immature radishes and crops were more susceptible to damage from dropping and puncture if they had a high water content. A key has also been developed for the growth stages of radish.

The aim of this work is to identify the factors governing splitting or splitting susceptibility and may enable the development of field production, harvesting and handling practices that minimise hypocotyl damage leading to fewer financial losses for the grower.

Horticultural Development Company

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


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