story to find out more.
Neven inserts a temperature probe into an apple to monitor fruit temperature
duing a CATTS procedure. Click the image for more information about
New Quarantine Treatment on Tap to Zap Fruit
Storage Pests By Jan Suszkiw July 6,
Fruit-loving insects, beware: A new technology called the "Controlled
Atmosphere/Temperature Treatment System" may be coming to a packinghouse or
plant quarantine facility near you.
Developed by Agricultural Research
Service scientists, CATTS is a pesticide-free technology that kills codling
moths, oriental fruit moths and certain other insects with a lethal combination
of rising temperatures and mixtures of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide.
Neven envisions using the technology as a postharvest treatment for apples,
peaches, pears, cherries and nectarines destined for export to foreign markets.
Methyl bromide fumigation is a chief means of disinfesting such fruit,
but the chemical is expensive, costing around $10 a pound, and its use is
heavily regulated due to environmental safety and other concerns.
In tests, CATTS killed 100 percent of codling moth larvae infesting
apples, sweet cherries, peaches and nectarines without significantly affecting
the fruits' appearance, texture, taste and aroma, reports Neven, in the ARS
Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit,
Wash. Oriental fruit moth tests are also promising, adds Neven, who
collaborates with other ARS researchers in Washington and California, as well
as with university scientists and two commercial firms.
The Washington-California collaboration is fitting: The two states,
plus Florida, produce most of America's $9 billion fruit crop, excluding
citrus. California is the top fruit producer of the three and leads the nation
in agricultural exports, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Economic
Ensuring pest-free fruit is vital to international trade. Otherwise,
an importing country where a particular pest doesn't already occur may reject a
fruit shipment or declare an all-out ban on further shipments. As a quarantine
measure, CATTS must prove 100 percent effective at killing moth larvae before a
trade partner like Japan will approve its use, according to Neven.
about the research in this month's issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.