Heat Stress Causes Biochemical Aging

20130604-131038The summer of 2012 was exceptionally warm. Soil temperatures near the surface were often 5C warmer than lower in the potato hill. The picture below shows a cross section of a potato hill with a possible distribution of potatoes. This picture was taken of potatoes that were chipped on June 3, 2013, eight months after harvest. Note the brown chips from potatoes that probably grew at the top of the hill. These have aged physiologically and biochemically to the point where starch has turned to sugar, resulting in dark chips. The potatoes that grew lower in the hill still fry white chips indicating no sugars are present. How to minimize this risk will be a major research focus in the years ahead.


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