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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alternatives to Methyl Bromide Preplant and Postharvest.

Authors
item Schneider, Sally
item Rosskopf, Erin
item Leesch, James
item Chellemi, Daniel
item Bull, Carolee
item Mazzola, Mark

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 11, 2003
Publication Date: February 26, 2003
Citation: Schneider, S.M., Rosskopf, E.N., Leesch, J.G., Chellemi, D.O., Bull, C.T., Mazzola, M. 2003. Alternatives to methyl bromide preplant and postharvest.. Pest Management Science, Vol. 59:814-826.

Interpretive Summary: Methyl bromide (MB) is a chemical that has been widely used to kill plant disease-causing pathogens in the soil before high value crops, such as strawberry and tomato, and perennial crops, such as fruit trees and grape vines, were planted. MB is also used to kill plant pathogens and insects on fruits, nuts, and vegetables before they are sent to markets within the U.S. and abroad. The manufacture and import of MB is being phased out, due to its impact of MB on the ozone layer. New methods are needed to control plant-disease-causing organisms in the soil and on harvested produce. In 1995,ARS built on its existing plant pathology and entomology research programs to address this need. Research is focused on strawberry, pepper, tomato, perennial, and nursery cropping systems and on fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Last year the program was expanded to include research on ornamental and cut flower cropping systems. This paper presents an overview of the ARS national research program in Alternatives to Methyl Bromide and presents results from four specific research trials. Good progress on short term alternatives is being made, which will then be used as the foundation of integrated management systems which begin before planting and continue through marketing of the fresh or dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Technical Abstract: Methyl bromide is a widely used fumigant for both preplant and postharvest pest and pathogen control. The Montreal Protocol and the U.S. Clean Air Act mandate a phaseout of the import and manufacture of methyl bromide, beginning in 2001 and culminating with a complete ban, except for quarantine and certain pre-shipment uses, in January 2005. In 1995, ARS built on its existing programs in soilborne plant pathology and postharvest entomology and plant pathology to initiate a national research program to develop alternatives to methyl bromide. The focus has been on strawberry, pepper, tomato, perennial, and nursery cropping systems for preplant methyl bromide use and fresh and durable commodities for postharvest use. Recently the program has been expanded to include research on alternatives for the ornamental and cut flower cropping systems. An overview of the national research program is presented. Results from four specific research trials are presented ranging from organic to conventional systems. Good progress on short term alternatives is being made, which will then be used as the foundation of integrated management systems which begin with preplant management decisions and continue through postharvest processing.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014