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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Quality and mass transport properties of sugar beet roots under short duration, high airflow post-harvest storage

English, William; Larsson Jönsson, Helene


Active ventilation of stored sugar beet roots is used to control system temperature and slow the loss of quality that occurs with plant respiration and the growth of pathogens. Ventilation can at the same time increase rates of dehydration and dehydration related stresses of the stored sugar beet roots. Recent research into the use of forced ventilation to modify temperature in in-field sugar beet root stores has suggested that a controlled dehydration of roots could lead to improvements in quality. This work aimed to investigate the impacts to sugar beet root quality from short-term, high volume airflow during post-harvest storage. A modified environment experimental setup was developed. The experiment tested four airflow rates over three levels of ventilation duration, with the longest duration being seven days. Air temperature and relative humidity was constant within each seven day run, but varied between runs. Results showed that a mean weight loss of 11.7% with a corresponding increase in sucrose content of 13.2% was achieved at the highest airflow rate and ventilation duration. These changes in quality were a result of the transfer of water from the sugar beet roots. No reduction in total sucrose or other quality parameters was observed. The dependence of the rate of water transfer from the roots on airflow rate was quantified as the convective mass transfer coefficient. Estimates are given and cross-validated using dimensional analysis.


Convective mass transfer; Diffusivity; Dehydration; Forced ventilation

Published in

Journal of Stored Products Research
2023, Volume: 104, article number: 102187