Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship and Sustainability
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2006
Publication Date: 5/9/2007
Citation: Johnson, J.A., Mitcham, E., Monzon, M.A., Wang, S., Tang, J. 2007. Non-chemical alternatives to fummigation for postharvest dried fruits and nuts. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Future of Agriculture, August 7-9, 2006, Sacramento, California. pp. 27-41.
Technical Abstract: Nearly all dried fruits and nuts in the United States are grown in central California. Each year this diverse industry yields 1.5 million metric tons of product, worth about $2 billion, with exports constituting 45% of the market. Infestation by post-harvest insects are a serious problem, usually requiring disinfestation treatments before distribution of product. Fumigants have been the treatment of choice in many cases, but environmental and regulatory concerns over their continued use have generated interest in non-chemical alternatives. Identifying potential applications for non-chemical methods requires familiarity with processing and storage methods as well as marketing constraints within the industry. Although no single non-chemical alternative could serve as a direct substitute for fumigation, use of non-chemical treatments for specialized applications would substantially reduce fumigant use. For these reasons, radio frequency heat treatments and vacuum treatments were evaluated as potential alternatives. Radio frequency treatments were found to have great promise for use in in-shell walnuts, while vacuum treatments are more suitable for smaller volumes of bagged tree nuts.