2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Impact of Smoke on Potato Growth, Storage and Profitability

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Owen McDougal


This project aims to investigate the effect that wildfire smoke has on the Idaho potato industry and economy. Potatoes were grown in “mini greenhouses” that were filled with smoke to simulate what an average smoky day in Idaho would be. Following harvest, a crop analysis was conducted to assess yield and tuber quality. We are focused on examining the reducing sugar, asparagine, and acrylamide content in both raw tubers and french fries. Reducing sugars and asparagine form acrylamide through the Maillard reaction. The EU and Probst 69 both have regulations concerning the allowable quantity of acrylamide that can be present in foods. It is found that smoke does have an effect on these parameters. Smoke can increase the sugar in potatoes, which can then increase acrylamide lowering fry quality. It was observed that smoke exposed tubers fresh from the field had a decrease in acrylamide, while smoke exposed tubers that had been stored had an increase of acrylamide.

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