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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Retaining Export and Food Security of U.S. Specialty Crops: Low-Emission Methyl Bromide Fumigations for Quarantine and Pre-Shipment Uses

Location: Commodity Protection and Quality

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This proposal addresses concerns of U.S. exporters with respect to European Union (EU) chemical regulation policies, which could disrupt trade of specialty crops, including dried plums.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Important features of the proposed research include: the comparative evaluation of contemporary containment and reuse methods with methyl bromide (MB) versus registered alternative fumigants (i.e. phosphine, ozone, sulfuryl fluoride, propylene oxide), the development of novel technologies to reduce and eliminate atmospheric emissions of fumigants, the utilization of an experimental scale-up approach that begins in laboratory chambers and culminates in commercial chambers with commodity-specific industry input, and an economic cost analysis of promising technologies, particularly those applicable to quarantine & pre-shipment postharvest scenarios.


3.Progress Report:

This Trust agreement was established to support objective 1 of the in-house project and is related to reducing atmospheric emission of methyl bromide from postharvest applications. A bench-scale adsorber, used to evaluate sorbent-fumigant interaction, was fabricated to facilitate high through-put screening. The bench-scale adsorber was used to establish a baseline to compare future activated carbon-based sorption results. An apparatus for the parallel testing of small-scale activated carbon columns (PACT: Parallel Activated Carbon Tester) has been built to compare up to six sorbent preparations at once. Also a quick, versatile, accurate, and solvent-free method for the measurement of methyl bromide using solid phase microextraction (SPME) has been developed to measure the breakthrough of methyl bromide from the columns. Activated carbon has been synthesized from United States-grown agricultural by-products, including walnuts shells, almond shells, prune pits, and peach pits.


Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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