The Role of Research and Development (R&D)
Research and development can assist growers in:
- Solving current problems eg pest and disease issues;
- Identification of emerging issues;
- Understanding climate variability and potential options to reduce risk;
- Optimising fertility management; and
- Development of longer term innovations in breeding and equipment.
There are a range of R&D providers including potato processing companies, universities, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and local and interstate Departments of Agriculture.
In South Australia, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) has good capability in applied R&D for the potato industry value chain in the following areas:
- Plant health;
- Pest and disease management;
- Identification of pest and disease problems and biosecurity;
- Climate risk management;
- Irrigation and salinity management;
- Innovation and packaging;
- Sensory testing;
- Food safety; and
- Export market access.
The Food Innovation Team at SARDI
The Food Innovation team offers a wide range of services in relation to fresh and processed potatoes to provide real solutions throughout the supply chain from the grower to the retailer. As competition to attract consumers increases, the importance of consumer and sensory evaluation has never been greater. Food technologists and packaging experts are available to provide advice and support to achieve the right product offering for the specific market. Underpinning this service is a sound knowledge of potato physiology within the group and an experienced food safety team.
SARDI has extensive experience in the consumer and sensory evaluation of potato varieties. Sensory evaluation is conducted in a modern facility which features independent tasting booths with controlled temperature and lighting, fully equipped kitchen, and a meeting room. Testing is available to compare varieties using a wide range of cooking methods including boiled, mashed, microwaved, roasted, baked, fried or chipped.
Previously SARDI has undertaken studies demonstrating the benefits of appropriate temperature management, handling and packaging to maintain product quality. Focus was on maintaining the fresh washed appearance, reducing lenticel browning, minimising soft rots and preventing greening.
SARDI is also a partner in the Australian Potato Research Program.