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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dried Fruits and Nuts

Authors
item Johnson, Judy
item Yahida, Elhadi - AUTONOMOUS UNIV QUERETAR0
item Brandl, David

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 28, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Citation: Johnson, J.A., Yahida, E., Brandl, D.G. 2009. Dried Fruits and Nuts. In: Yahia, E.M., editor. Modified and Controlled Atmospheres for the Storage, Transportation, and Packaging of Horticultural Commodities. New York, NY CRC Press. 507-526.

Interpretive Summary: Dried fruits and tree nuts are relatively high-value products used primarily for snack foods or as confectionary ingredients, and their successful marketing requires strict attention to quality control. They typically have one or more pre-harvest insect pests that feed directly on the product and are capable of causing considerable damage and quality loss, and are also susceptible to attack by a number of common stored product moths and beetles, the most serious being the Indianmeal moth. Current insect control measures for dried fruit and nuts depend largely on fumigation to disinfect large volumes of incoming product during harvest, as well as to control storage infestation. There is a mounting pressure against the general use of chemical fumigants due to atmospheric emissions, safety or health concerns, and an increased interest in organic food production, resulting in efforts to develop non-chemical technologies as alternative control methods for insects. Low moisture dried fruits and tree nuts are relatively tolerant of many kinds of modified or controlled atmospheres (MA or CA), making their use for insecticidal treatments or for shelf-life extension attractive. Although CA treatment times for bulk-stored product are usually much longer than those for methyl bromide, at temperatures of 30°C or more they are often comparable to phosphine fumigation. For applications that do not require rapid turn-around of product, such as yard stacks of raisins, CA treatments may be appropriate. Currently, the biggest barrier to wide-scale adoption of CA for disinfestation of bulk dried fruits and nuts is the increased costs, although for high-value organic product the added cost is more acceptable. Modified atmospheres in packaging (N2 flushed or vacuum packed) as a means of improving shelf-life is currently used, most often by processors of tree nut products.

Technical Abstract: Current control of postharvest insect pests of dried fruits and tree nuts relies heavily on fumigants such as methyl bromide or phosphine. There is mounting pressure against the general use of chemical fumigants due to atmospheric emissions, safety or health concerns, and an increased interest in organic food production, resulting in efforts to develop non-chemical technologies as alternative control methods. Low moisture dried fruits and tree nuts are relatively tolerant of many kinds of modified or controlled atmospheres (MA or CA), making their use for insecticidal treatments or for shelf-life extension attractive. Although CA treatment times for bulk-stored product are usually much longer than those for methyl bromide, at temperatures 30°C they are often comparable to phosphine fumigation. For applications that do not require rapid turn-around of product, such as yard stacks of raisins, CA treatments may be appropriate. Currently, the biggest barrier to wide-scale adoption of CA for disinfestation of bulk dried fruits and nuts is the increased costs, although for high-value organic product the added cost is more acceptable. Modified atmospheres in packaging (N2 flushed or vacuum packed) as a means of improving shelf-life is currently used, most often by processors of tree nut products.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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