The effect of some storage methods on the quality and shelf-life of some cultivars of white yam (Dioscorea rotundata) variety

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Yam (Dioscorea spp) plays a central role in the food economy in most West African countries especially Ghana. Production is seasonal yet, the consumption of the tuber is required over the whole year. Postharvest losses especially at storage is a major challenge. Hence, the study was to investigate and note the suitable storage method that would minimize losses incurred during storage in five farming communities in two major yam producing districts, Wenchi and Tain in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. A survey, storage and laboratory experiment were conducted to solicit for the pre-storage treatments applied to yam, methods adopted for storage and farmers knowledge on postharvest losses and study the effect of some factors that initiate and cause loss. Proximate analysis was also conducted on two selected cultivars during and after storage to determine the nutritional variation of White yam variety. The survey revealed, only few farmers (28%) apply agro-chemicals such as Benlate and Rizolex to their harvested tubers before storage. The commonest storage used by the respondents is the yam barn (60%). Burial (30%) and heaps on floor (10%) storage methods were also used depending on time of harvest. The respondents also estimated 1-30% as losses often incurred after harvest and in storage due to injuries (31%), pests (23%), weight loss (4%), sprout (21%) and decay (40%). The storage experiment conducted however showed sprouting to be that high (93%). The storage methods caused a significant reduction on the nutritional composition of the stored tubers. With the three storage methods (heaps on floor, yam barn and open sided) evaluated, the open sided storage performed best in minimising weight loss, sprouting, decay, pest damage and nutritional composition.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Philosophy in Postharvest Technology,