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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #429745

Research Project: Methyl Bromide Replacement: Post-harvest Treatment of Perishable Commodities

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-22430-002-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2015
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

Objective:
The long-term goal of this project is to develop alternative postharvest pest control treatments that are effective and safe for control of quarantine pests on a wide range of perishable agricultural commodities. This project builds upon our previous success with nitric oxide (NO) and oxygenated phoshine (PH3) fumigations as potential alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation for postharvest pest control on fresh fruits and vegetables. Nitric oxide was found to have higher efficacy than regular PH3 and may also enhance postharvest quality of fresh products. Oxygenated PH3 fumigation was found to control external pests with greater efficacy than regular PH3 fumigation. Successful completion of the project will result in specific NO fumigation and oxygenated PH3 fumigation treatments against four insect species on fresh fruit and vegetables including western flower thrips, light brown apple moth, codling moth, and the fruit fly spotted wing drosophila. Specific objectives are listed below: Objective 1. Develop nitric oxide fumigation treatments for postharvest pest control. Sub-objective 1.A. Develop an effective nitric oxide fumigation treatment to control western flower thrips on fresh fruit and vegetables. Sub-objective 1.B. Develop an effective nitric oxide fumigation treatment to control light brown apple moth on fruit. Sub-objective 1.C. Develop an effective nitric oxide fumigation treatment to control codling moth in apples. Sub-objective 1.D. Develop an effective nitric oxide fumigation treatment to control spotted wing drosophila in sweet cherries and strawberries. Objective 2. Develop oxygenated phosphine fumigation treatments for postharvest pest control. Sub-objective 2.A. Determine feasibility of oxygenated phosphine fumigation to control codling moth in apples. Sub-objective 2.B. Determine feasibility of oxygenated phosphine fumigation to control spotted wing drosophila in strawberries.

Approach:
Objective 1. Nitric oxide fumigation under ultralow oxygen conditions will be studied for controlling insect pests including western flower thrips, light brown apple moth, codling moth, and spotted wing drosophila on harvested fresh commodities for their exports. Small scale laboratory fumigations will be conducted to determine effective treatments (concentration, time, and temperature) for different insects. Selected treatments will then be tested on specific fresh products to evaluate the impact of the treatments on postharvest quality. Objective 2. Oxygenated phosphine fumigation under high oxygen conditions will be studied for controlling codling moth larvae in apples and spotted wing drosophila in sweet cherries and strawberries. Small scale laboratory fumigations will be conducted to determine effective treatments to control the most tolerant life stages of the pests in the fruits. Selected effective treatments will then be tested on fresh products to verify their efficacies and impact of postharvest quality of the fresh products.