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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 4, p. 637-639
    Received: Sept 9, 1978

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Post-Harvest Sucrose Losses in Sugarbeet Roots Treated with Soil-Injected Ethylene1

  1. W. R. Akeson,
  2. A. H. Freytag and
  3. E. L. Stout2



Sucrose worth millions of dollars is lost annually in the United States during storage of sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) roots from harvest until they are processed. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of treatment of roots with ethylene during the growing season on sucrose loss and change in quality components during storage. Ethylene was injected 20 cm into the soil between rows at the 11-leaf-stage of development. Changes in weight, sucrose content, and purity of harvested roots during storage were measured for determination of gross sucrose and recoverable sucrose losses.

Treatment at a rate of 0.25 liter ethylene/m of travel reduced losses of weight, gross sucrose, and recoverable sucrose 31.2, 22.4, and 20.7%, respectively, during storage in 12 tests conducted in 1973, 1974, and 1975. The 0.50 liter/m ethylene treatment gave reductions in losses of weight, gross sucrose, and recoverable sucrose intermediate between those of the 0.25 liter/m and control treatments.

The 0.25 liter/m ethylene treatments reduced post-harvest respiration and invert sugar accumulation which are primarily responsible for sucrose losses. The 0.50 liter/m ethylene treatment reduced respiration. Both treatments reduced the post-harvest ethylene evolution of the roots.

Use of ethylene to reduce storage losses is limited by the lack of economic increase in sucrose yield per hectare at harvest.

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