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Controlled atmosphere (CA) storage is a well established practice with fruit and vegetables. But could it work with sugar beets? Possibly, but probably not. Wyse, 1973, showed that CA did have an effect on rates of sucrose less, but it was nothing spectacular. At 5% (50,000ppm) CO2 and 21% O2, losses after 300 degree-days were basic the same as the beets at 0% CO2 and 21% O2. The trick seemed to be to get O2 down. At 5% O2 (and 0% CO2) losses were noticeably less.

CA storage has mixed results when it came to impurities, but it is difficult to see any great benefits on this front from Wyse, 1973.

The great unknown is what the CO2 and O2 concentrations are in sugar beet clamps. If I was a betting man, I’d guess they are nowhere near 5%.

From the Wyse article, more important than the right atmosphere was the right variety. In the third of the experiments reported in this three page article, two varieties were tested under different conditions. One variety had much lower losses on average.

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