CATTS Perfect for Zapping Apple Pests
By Marcia Wood
February 20, 2002
Crunchy apples from orchards of the
Pacific Northwest are eagerly sought by food buyers in the United States and
abroad. But some foreign buyers require growers and packers to take special
steps to ensure that the fruit exported from the United States is free of
certain pests. Agricultural officials in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Canada and
Mexico, for example, are concerned that codling moths or oriental fruit moths
could escape from shipments and invade orchards.
Agricultural Research Service
entomologist Lisa G. Neven is providing practical, affordable techniques that
conventional and organic growers and packers can use to disinfest their premium
fruits. Neven is based at the ARS Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit in
Wapato, Wash. She is doing these experiments with PacOrganic and King Blossom,
two organic producer-packers in Washington state.
Neven's method, developed in ongoing experiments during the past nine years,
is called CATTS-- short for Controlled Atmosphere Temperature
Treatment System. CATTS relies on placing bins of fruit in chambers and then
changing the temperature and composition of the atmosphere surrounding the
fruit for a short period of time.
Her tests with apples showed that raising the temperature of the atmosphere
about 18 degrees F per hour until the fruits internal temperature is 111
to 117 F, in a mix of 1 percent oxygen and 15 percent carbon dioxide, zaps any
living codling moths or oriental fruit moths.
According to Neven, the regimen helps maintain apples quality longer.
She did these tests on more than 138,000 pounds of Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn,
Granny Smith, Fuji, and Golden and Red Delicious apples. Her work is based in
part on discoveries made by scientists in Israel.
Conventional growers who today fumigate their fruit for export with methyl
bromide are following Nevens studies because of the escalating cost of
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.