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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #250129

Title: Postharvest Management of Insects in Horticultural Products by Conventional and Organic Means, Primarily for Quarantine Purposes

item Neven, Lisa

Submitted to: Stewart Postharvest Review
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2010
Publication Date: 2/21/2010
Citation: Neven, L.G. 2010. Postharvest Management of Insects in Horticultural Products by Conventional and Organic Means, Primarily for Quarantine Purposes. Stewart Postharvest Review, pp 1-11.

Interpretive Summary: The presence of insects in or on agricultural commodities has caused major disruptions in the storage, processing, shipment and trade of these products. Dr. Neven, a Research Entomologist at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Wapato, WA reviewed research of numerous methods that have been developed to reduce or eliminate these pests. These methods include treatments with pesticides, chemical fumigants, irradiation, temperature extremes, low oxygen and/or elevated carbon dioxide atmospheres, and organically compliant chemicals. In this review, Dr. Neven concluded that concerns over environmental pollution and human health have steered the focus of treatments towards organically compliant and non-polluting methods to achieve pest control. Many of these treatments have been accepted by regulatory agencies for use and many more are still being developed. This review points out the importance of implementation of non-polluting postharvest quarantine treatments that will help the environment, increase sustainable agriculture, and increase trade and profitability of horticultural products.

Technical Abstract: Purpose of review: The presence of arthropod pests in or on horticultural commodities has caused major disruptions in the stor¬age, processing and shipment of these products. Management of these pests has posed a problem to humans for thousands of years. Current technology has led to the development of numerous means (chemical, mechanical or procedural) to control these pests. For the most part, postharvest pest control is focused on trade and exports. The accidental introduction of a pest into a place where it is not known to be present has resulted in the establishment of quarantine restrictions and export treatment re¬quirements. This review focuses on the most current state of postharvest and quarantine treatments in development and currently in use on horticultural products. The current implementation and acceptance of these treatments is also addressed. Findings: Conventional postharvest pest control measures include treatments with chemical fumigants and topical pesticides. Con¬cerns over environmental pollution and human health have obstructed the use of conventional chemicals and fumigants and further development of new chemicals for postharvest treatments. Irradiation is considered a conventional treatment, however, it does not use chemicals nor does it result in detectible residues in the commodity. Improvements in engineering commercial irradiators such as re¬stricting source exposure, and the development of more powerful X-ray converters of electron beams, as well as refinement of generic treatments for groups of pests, had led to the expansion of this treatment to achieve quarantine goals. Directions for future research: Organic compliant postharvest treatments have received much attention and are the area of the most research. These treatments can include topical treatments with organic, natural pesticides and biologically derived fumigants, tempera¬ture extremes, modified atmospheres, and other novel physical treatments. The status of postharvest treatments for the control of ar¬thropod pests both approved and in development is discussed.