Battered and Bruised: Managing bruising during harvest

What can be done to minimize bruises and wounds this harvest season? There are two major components to bruise management: 1) factoring in tuber conditions and variety susceptibility to bruise with a harvest, and 2) running a handling operation designed to minimize physical impact or damage of the tubers. There are two types of harvest bruises: blackspot and shatter. Two events are involved in blackspot bruise formation: a physical impact, followed by a chemical reaction that causes the discoloration. There is no open wound with blackspot bruising. Conversely, a shatter bruise only needs a physical impact, but that causes a break in the skin or flesh. The pathogens that cause Fusarium dry rot and Pythium leak need a wound to infect the tuber. Pathogens that cause pink rot, late blight, early blight and others may not need a wound, but infection is dramatically increased with wounding. More