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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Research Project #429226

Research Project: Pre-and Postharvest Treatment of Tropical Commodities to Improve Quality and Increase Trade Through Quarantine Security

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-43000-017-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 8, 2015
End Date: Jul 7, 2020

The long-term goals of our research program are to develop and protect U.S. export markets for fresh tropical commodities. An emphasis is placed on expanding and diversifying agriculture and agricultural exports in Hawaii and other states by providing environmentally sound, economically viable systems, treatments, or processes that control quarantine pests, ensure product quality, and increase product value while safeguarding the agriculture of other states. Our research will address four broad objectives over the next 5 years: Objective 1: Develop new or improved postharvest treatments or technologies for fresh tropical commodities to ensure security against quarantine pests, including new irradiation treatments for western flower thrips, and various ants on fresh fruits. Sub-objective 1A. Develop quarantine irradiation treatments for western flower thrips, coffee berry borer, rough sweetpotato weevil, and red imported fire ant. Sub-objective 1B. Develop a quarantine cold treatment for melon fly in citrus. Sub-objective 1C. Determine the effectiveness of hypobaric treatments against surface pests. Objective 2: Develop new or improved postharvest treatments or systems (such as hypobaric storage and modified atmospheres) to improve quality and extend shelf life of tropical horticultural crops subjected to quarantine treatment. Sub-objective 2A. Determine hypobaric storage conditions that retain quality and extend storage life of fresh tropical fruit. Sub-objective 2B. Develop combination treatments of modified atmosphere packaging and irradiation to retain quality of exported fresh papaya. Objective 3: Develop or improve preharvest methods for surveillance, detection, and control of invasive tropical plant pests of quarantine significance, such as coffee berry borer. Sub-objective 3A. Study the ecology of Cathartus quadricollis and other predatory flat bark beetles and explore ways to increase their role in suppressing coffee berry borer populations in coffee. Objective 4: Develop multiple-component systems approaches to decrease the severity of or need for commodity treatments. Sub-objective 4A. Quantify systems approaches for quarantine security of melon fly.

The approach is to develop quarantine treatments, such as low dose irradiation and hypobaric treatments, and other mitigation techniques for fresh tropical commodities and ornamental crops. Quarantine irradiation treatment will be developed for rough sweetpotato weevil, in sweet potato, western flower thrips, red imported fire ant, and coffee berry borer. Optimum hypobaric treatment parameters for maritime shipment of tropical fruits to preserve quality and extend shelf life will be determined. We will establish the tolerance of tropical fruits to any new or modified quarantine treatments.To expand markets for high-value tropical specialty fruit, we will develop postharvest disease and packaging strategies to extend shelf life. Integrated pest management strategies for coffee berry borer will focus on understanding the population dynamics and ecology of predatory flat bark beetles and improving rear-and-release systems. A cold treatment will be developed for melon fly in citrus. Also, a systems approach will be developed for melon fly control in covered tomatoes using mass trapping, protein baits and sanitation.