Location: Bioproducts Research
Title: Biopolymers in controlled release devices for agricultural applications. Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Varroa mite is a serious pest in honey bee colonies and safe control measures are needed for their protection. Scientists at the Western Regional Research Center and the Hayden Bee Research Center developed control release devices to control Varroa mite. The devices are made of biopolymers and will degrade natural in honey bee colonies once the devices are spent. The devices will be helpful in the effort to control Varroa mite and could also be useful for controlling other agricultural pests.
Technical Abstract: The use of biopolymers such as starch for agricultural applications including controlled release devices is growing due the environmental benefits. Recently, concerns have grown about the worldwide spread of parasitic mites (Varroa destructor) that infect colonies of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Several new control agents have been identified including 2-heptanone and essential plant oils but effective delivery systems are needed. A reservoir-type device for the controlled release of 2-heptanone was made using starch xerogel derived from aqueous gels. The starch xerogel absorbed three times its weight in active ingredient. Vapor permeability to 2-heptanone was measured for six different films. A commercial fruit film had the lowest VP for the films tested. A delivery system for essential plant oils was made using xerogel microparticles. The particles were made by atomizing a high amylose corn starch melt and air classifying the spray droplets to obtain a particle size ranging from 1-10 µm. The droplets were dehydrated in ethanol and air-dried before loading with plant oils. Field tests for both devices are being performed to assess effectiveness.