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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Research Project #443682

Research Project: Evaluation of Sustainable Packaging Solutions for Humanitarian Aid

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-034-032-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2023
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

The objective of this research project is to evaluate new sustainable packaging materials for use in humanitarian aid with the objective to identify those that maintain commodity quality attributes and prevent/inhibit infestation by stored product insects throughout the supply chain. This research builds on previous collaborative research projects investigating packaging material properties and their relationship with reducing insect infestation. The need for sustainable and insect resilient packaging is paramount for effectively delivering humanitarian aid, but has potential application for protecting stored bagged commodities around the world.

The evaluation of new packaging technologies will involve three different research experiments designed to challenge each packaging type in ways that simulate field conditions. The first experiment will evaluate resistance of individual packages challenged with a suite of stored product insects, during storage under controlled environmental conditions. The second experiment will compare all packaging types simultaneously during storage in a semi-field warehouse for 6 months. Stored product insects will be introduced into the storage warehouse periodically during the storage period. Packaging types will be sub-sampled monthly to identify any loss in grain quality, level of insect infestation, and changes to packaging integrity. The third experiment will test packaging ability to withstand high temperatures and humidity conditions found during long-term storage. All packaging samples will be held in environmental chambers at high temperature and humidity conditions for a minimum of 12 months. Individual packages will be randomly selected and subjected to individual stored product insect challenge studies to determine how temperature and humidity affect the material properties overtime.