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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 #438421

Research Project: Postharvest Protection of Tropical Commodities for Improved Market Access and Quarantine Security

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-43000-018-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 8, 2020
End Date: Jul 7, 2025

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 three broad objectives over the next 5 years: Objective 1: Develop new or improved postharvest treatments or technologies for fresh tropical commodities that mitigate risks associated with quarantine pests and improve quality and shelf-life. • Sub-objective 1A. Develop quarantine irradiation treatments for western flower thrips, tropical nut borer, and the semi-slug Parmarion martensi. • Sub-objective 1B. Evaluate ethyl formate fumigation for thrips control in ornamentals. • Sub-objective 1C. Determine the quality and shelf life of fresh commodities subjected to quarantine irradiation treatment. Objective 2: Develop new preharvest methods for the monitoring and control of phytosanitary and quarantine pests and commodity quality improvement. • Sub-objective 2A. Develop oviposition deterrents for behavioral control of oriental fruit fly and spotted wing drosophila. • Sub-objective 2B. Identify trail pheromone components of little fire ant for improved management in Hawaii. • Sub-objective 2C. Determine preharvest factors that increase aflatoxin prevalence in macadamia nuts. Objective 3: Develop risk management systems and systems approaches to control tropical plant pests and decrease the intensity or need for commodity treatments. • Sub-objective 3A. Evaluate predator breeding stations for augmentative biological control of coffee berry borer in coffee. • Sub-objective 3B. Conduct classical biological control of coffee berry borer using the adult parasitoid Phymasticus coffea. • Sub-objective 3C. Develop a multi-component system for determining chemical and sensory quality associated with coffee berry borer (CBB) damaged coffee and other coffee defects.

Obj 1A: Quarantine irradiation treatments for western flower thrips, tropical nut borer, and the slug Parnarion martensi will be developed. Dose response data will be generated for mortality, fecundity and fertility. Irradiation treatments will be submitted to USDA APHIS and the IPPC for approval. 1B: Ethyl formate fumigation for postharvest thrips control in ornamentals will be developed, including orchids. Efficacy trials will be conducted with nymph and adult stages using fumigation across concentrations and times. Preliminary data show thrips can be controlled at very low ethyl formate concentrations without loss of orchid quality. 1C: The quality & shelf life of fresh commodities subjected to quarantine irradiation treatment will be determined, particularly for breadfruit. Fresh breadfruit will be irradiated and evaluated for physical, chemical & sensory attributes. If quality is negatively impacted at phytosanitary doses, then combination treatments with hot water or 1-MCP will be tested. Obj 2A: Oviposition deterrents for behavioral control of oriental fruit fly and spotted wing drosophila will be developed. Chemical odors will be extracted from fruits and fungi and screened for attraction or antagonism to fruit flies using field cage tests or GC-EAD & GC-MS analysis. Oviposition deterrents might reduce insecticide spraying. 2B: Trail pheromone components of little fire ant will be identified. Potential candidates will be extracted from venom sac/Dufour’s glands of LFA workers and trails created on epiphytic moss. Bioactivity will be determined via behavioral, chemical and electrophysiological techniques. Pheromones with toxic baits could improve discovery, worker recruitment, and delivery to nests workers. 2C: Preharvest factors increasing aflatoxin in macadamia nuts will be determined. Samples from fields and processor will be evaluated for insect damage & aflatoxins. A prototype in-line fluorescence detector for contaminated nuts will be developed. Aflatoxin detection in immature or insect-damaged nuts can allow mitigation via preharvest insect control, timely harvests, & postharvest sorting. Obj 3A: Predator breeding stations will be evaluated for augmentative biological control of coffee berry borer (CBB) in coffee. Sleeve cages and artificial berries will be used to quantify predation rates in flat bark beetle predators of CBB. Breeding stations will be evaluated for their ability to multiply & augment predators. Increased predators in coffee farms should result in lower CBB populations. 3B: Classical biological control of CBB using the parasitoid Phymasticus coffea will be conducted. P. coffea will be imported from Colombia & tested in quarantine against native and exotic scolytine prey to determine host range. If P. coffea shows no significant nontarget effects, release permits will be obtained. 3C: A system to determine chemical & sensory quality of CBB-damaged coffee will be developed. Methods for volatiles analysis will be developed to distinguish damaged from undamaged beans. If volatile and sensory analyses are effective in differentiating CBB damaged coffee the methodology will be applied to detect other coffee defects.