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Potato professor obtains another PhD again: ‘On Processing Potato’

December 2022

’Anyone interested in potato processing and people who want to learn about an innovative research approach’, are potential readers of his most recent doctoral research, according to Anton Haverkort. On 14 September, Haverkort obtained his doctorate for the second time, this time on an extensive research project on potato processing, entitled: On Processing Potato.

The overarching aim of his thesis is to document potato processing in society in a coherent way and to evaluate it quantitatively and qualitatively, says Haverkort during the defence of his PhD at Wageningen University. To make this readily comprehensible, Haverkort has divided his thesis into five super domains that include fifteen domains. After studying the dissertation, he says, you can learn how to collect and compile knowledge gained from experience, from scientific and professional literature, and from interviews and the internet, so-called triangulation. ‘Readers learn about all the aspects of potato processing organised into knowledge domains, including the timeline of products on the market, products in the supermarket, and potato dishes served up on tables based on products, taste aspects and sustainability in the supply chain. They also learn how to apply the Fourfold Analysis for themselves. This starts with describing a domain, a knowledge area, and then filling it with knowledge about the different classes in a domain. After that, the properties of the classes are given a score, which are displayed in heatmaps. Finally, you group the classes and properties according to similarities.’ In the study, Haverkort discovered that not all properties have the same degree of influences on a class. The more a property influences a class, the more weight he gives it. ‘In this way, you can turn a qualitative description into a quantitative analysis, on which you can base decisions, for example about the introduction of new products, efficiency improvement, nutritional aspects, sustainability, and starting a new factory in a developed market’, Haverkort explains.

Interesting information

‘Readers become acquainted with all the aspects of potato processing divided into knowledge domains’, explains Anton Haverkort, flanked by his paranymphs Andrea and Willem Haverkort.

Haverkort indicates that the target group of his thesis is very broad. ‘The doctoral research contains interesting information for consumers of dishes based on potato products, chefs, retailers and restaurants, processors, potato growers, breeders, suppliers and policy makers. In addition, it’s also important for researchers and actors in the chain who want to learn about and apply the Fourfold Analysis I’ve developed’, Haverkort says in a reaction. He indicates that it is a unique and comprehensive study that brings together and analyses the most relevant knowledge about potato processing. ‘It’s about cooperation in the chain, actions in the industry and the processes in the tuber, about the efficiency and losses from harvest to packaging, the nutritional value and the place in society. This is the first time that the Fourfold Analysis has been published, explained and applied’, he continues. The complete doctoral research is available as a hard copy in the webshop of PotatoWorld magazine. It is also available as a free download on the site of Wageningen University & Research.


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