‘Raincoat’ For Potatoes Keeps Them Fresh For Longer

Chinese scientists have developed a cheap and eco-friendly way to prolong the shelf life of potatoes.

AsianScientist (Jul. 27, 2018) – Chinese scientists have developed an eco-friendly and low-cost method to prevent potatoes from sprouting during storage. They published their findings in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Potatoes are a major food source globally. However, they have a short shelf-life and tend to sprout during storage. Sprouting causes a large quantity of α-solanine—a compound that is toxic to humans—to accumulate in potato ‘eyes.’ Consuming potatoes that have sprouted may therefore have negative health consequences.

To extend the shelf-life of potatoes, a research group led by Professor Wu Zhengyan at the Institute of Technical Biology and Agriculture Engineering, of the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science in China, developed a waterproof coating for potatoes. This ‘raincoat,’ made from hydrophobic nano-silica (H-SiO2), was modified with amino silicon oil (ASO).

The ‘raincoat’ prevented moisture from contacting the surface of the potatoes and inhibited sprouting. Compared to uncoated potatoes, potatoes sprayed with ASO-modified H-SiO2 had their shelf life extended by 35 days.

Because the coating does not pass through the potato skin and can be easily washed off before cooking, the researchers noted that their invention is compatible with food safety requirements.

The article can be found at: Zhang et al. (2018) Inhibiting Sprouting and Decreasing α-Solanine Amount of Stored Potatoes Using Hydrophobic Nanosilica.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Pexels.
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