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Report2023Open access

Onion storage diseases and their headspace volatiles

Kleman, Isabella


Onion, Allium cepa, is one of the world’s most commonly produced and consumed vegetables. In order to be available year round in temperate climates onions must be stored for several months. During this time parts of the harvested weight of bulbs are lost to storage diseases, sprouting and respiration leading to loss of carbohydrates and water. Diseases developing in storage may be difficult to spot at early stages as bulbs are typically stored in large bins. However, storage diseases can change the volatile metabolite profile of the infected onions. Electronic sensors that detect the concentration of specific volatile compounds in the air could be deployed in storage facilities to detect these changes. This would provide an early warning system that could detect diseases developing in storage bins before it becomes obvious to a human observer. In this way, some of the losses that occur during storage of onions could be prevented. This introductory paper discusses some of the available literature on the facets of onion production that are connected to storage disease development and the detection of said storage diseases using headspace sampling and analysis. The focus of the paper is mainly on onion production and storage of long day cultivars in relatively cold, temperate climates, as the use of short day cultivars and warm storage in warmer climates comes with different challenges and diseases.


onion; storage; plant pathogens; volatile compounds; headspace

Published in

Introductory paper at the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science
2023, number: 2023:1Publisher: Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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