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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Pre and Postharvest Treatment of Tropical and Other Commodities for Quarantine Security, Quality Maintenance, and Value Enhancement

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: Export of commercial 'Hass' avocados from Argentina poses negligible risk of ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) infestation

Authors
item Villagran, M -
item Willink, E -
item Vera, M -
item FOLLETT, PETER

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 7, 2012
Publication Date: August 3, 2012
Citation: Villagran, M.E., Willink, E., Vera, M.T., Follett, P.A. 2012. Export of commercial 'Hass' avocados from Argentina poses negligible risk of ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) infestation. Journal of Economic Entomology.

Interpretive Summary: Quarantine restrictions due to the Mediterranean fruit fly prevent Argentina from exporting 'Hass' avocados to the United States and Japan. The host status of hard, mature green Hass avocado to Medfly was evaluated using laboratory and field cage tests under no-choice conditions, and by assessing natural levels of infestation in commercially harvested fruit from the main avocado production area. A total of 2,250 hard, mature green avocado fruit were exposed to 11,250 gravid females for 24 or 48 h after harvest in laboratory or field cages and no infestations were found. During eleven seasons, a total of 5,949 fruit were sampled from the trees and 992 fruit were collected from the ground, and in none of them were any live or dead fruit fly larvae found. Inspection of >198,000 commercial fruit at the packinghouse from 1998-2011 showed no symptoms of fruit fly infestation. Hass’ avocado from Argentina harvested at the hard, mature green stage was not infested by Medfly and appears to pose a negligible quarantine risk to importing countries.

Technical Abstract: Quarantine restrictions due to the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), prevent Argentina from exporting avocados, Persea americana Miller, cv. Hass, to certain countries. Hass avocado at the hard, mature green stage is potentially a conditional nonhost for C. capitata, which could open export markets without the need for a quarantine treatment. The host status of hard, mature green Hass avocado to Ceratitis capitata was evaluated using laboratory and field cage tests under no-choice conditions, and by assessing natural levels of infestation in commercially harvested fruit from the main avocado production area. A total of 2,250 hard, mature green avocado fruit were exposed to 11,250 gravid females for 24 or 48 h after harvest in laboratory or field cages and no infestations were found. During eleven seasons, a total of 5,949 fruit were sampled from the trees and 992 fruit were collected from the ground, and in none of them were any live or dead fruit fly larvae found. Inspection of >198,000 commercial fruit at the packinghouse from 1998-2011 showed no symptoms of fruit fly infestation. These data exceed the published standards for determination of nonhost status, as well as the probit 9 standard for development of quarantine treatments. Hass’ avocado harvested at the hard, mature green stage was not infested by Ceratitis capitata and appears to pose a negligible quarantine risk. No quarantine actions should be needed by importing countries.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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