Retaining Export and Food Security of U.S. Specialty Crops: Low-Emission Methyl Bromide Fumigations for Quarantine and Pre-Shipment Uses
Commodity Protection and Quality
2011 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.
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, which is used to evaluate sorbent-fumigant interaction, was fabricated to facilitate high through-put screening. The approach is to pass the vapors of methyl bromide and water through a column (possibly heated) containing carbon zerogels, which are resorcinol-formaldehyde polymers that are subsequently pyrolyzed at 700-800 C. Research focused on the preparation of two carbon xerogels with heteroaromatic amine functionality, which were then tested for catalytic activity. Amine-catalyzed hydrolysis on modified solid adsorbent-catalysts is a potentially viable method for methyl bromide vapor destruction.