The hope is that by coupling data on respiration rates with data on beet strength – by variety – an index of variety storability can be developed. We are already quite confident that reliable data on strength can be sourced cheaply with a handheld penetrometer. Now we need a cheap and reliable system for measuring rates of respiration. Once this in built, we’ll need to run a storage experiment to confirm the idea of an index.
Plant material: 12 varieties taken from variety trials, selected to provide maximum variation in probable strength and respiration rates during storage. Strength can be proxied by sugar content, if strength data not available. Respiration rates can possibly be measured during the growing seasons, but it is not known if leaf respiration and root respiration are highly correlated (see parallel project idea). Otherwise, selection of varieties for a range of respiration rates could be based on pre-trials, or anecdotal evidence, or left to chance.
Strength: for 2 varieties trial sites (4 repetitions per variety = 96 plots), 8 beets per plot will be sampled as per the COBRI method for use of a handheld penetrometer in sugar beets (publication due mid 2021). Sampling would occur in early September.
Respiration: This will be subject to discussion/ funding. Ideally, 4 repetitions (2 per trial site). Likely in the first year, 1 repetition. In a system that looks a bit like this:
The main circular system measures the CO2 concentration one barrel at a time, cycling through them once every hour. The second fan + valve manifold in the bottom flushes the barrels with fresh air, once every 12 hours or so, timed to match the measurement system.
Storage: 4 reps, 2 per trial site (48 boxes) stored in climate controlled shipping container for at least 500 degree days. Assessed primarily for sugar content.
The experiment would run September to December. If the respiration measurement system needs testing, this can happen in August. Funding is not secured for this project, but it could run any season from 2021 on.
These estimates do not include labour for project managers,
Plant material: 0 SEK. Taken from variety trials. Collecting and transporting it for the respiration and storage trials would be around 1 day for 4 people.
Strength: 1 full day with travel should cover it.
Respiration: The system could be built using new and quality parts for around 25kSEK, plus 3 days labour and some travel.
Storage: Storage would be cheap, but to get the samples to the factory is around 1 day plus 10kSEK to get the analysed.
So, around 40kSEK plus 10 days labour should make a fair dint in this project.
WHY THIS MIGHT NOT HAPPEN:
High on the priority/ wish list. Suitable for NBR scale project. As a student project, would be large, eg 30 pts.