Centre director David O’Connor, speaking at the British Onion Producers Association conference, called it a “revelation”.
Historically the industry has relied on maleic hydrazide which allows the English crop to
be stored from autumn until the following summer. However, while below the permitted Minimum Residue Levels, there are still variable traces. The discovery is that ethylene works just as well, and any build up dissipates within four days of stores being opened.
O’Connor estimates that at present the treatment is three times as expensive, but the cost would drop if its use became widespread.