Consumers will soon be able to leave potatoes on the shelf a good deal longer, with federal regulators approving a natural food additive that will keep tubers from sprouting.
American Vanguard Corporation announced that a subsidiary, AMVAC Chemical Corp., has received the registration nod from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for sales of SmartBlock, a novel potato sprout inhibitor discovered at Washington State University.
SmartBlock features a patented new class of potato sprout inhibitor technology that represents a breakthrough approach in treatment of post-harvest potatoes. The product is a naturally-occurring molecule, an U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved direct food additive and is classified by EPA as a biopesticide.
It offers a safe and comprehensive long-term storage control and requires no capital investment by customers since it is easily applied using existing equipment, note WSU researchers.
AMVAC will be selling the produce immediately in the U.S., and Canadian and European registrations are progressing.
The technology discovered at WSU is credited to Rick Knowles, chair of the Department of Horticulture, and Lisa Knowles, assistant professor of horticulture.
The technology involves application of the material after potatoes are harvested and at the onset of sprouting. In tests, WSU researchers found that one application inhibits sprouting for from two to three months.