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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #255566

Title: Recent advances in development of ultralow oxygen treatment for postharvest pest control on perishable commodities.

item Liu, Yong Biao

Submitted to: Stewart Postharvest Review
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/17/2010
Publication Date: 9/1/2010
Citation: Liu, Y. 2010. Recent advances in development of ultralow oxygen treatment for postharvest pest control on perishable commodities. Stewart Postharvest Review. DOI: 10.2212/spr.2010.3.9.

Interpretive Summary: Recent progresses on ultralow oxygen treatment for postharvest pest control on perishable commodities were summarized and discussed. Research on controlled atmosphere treatments for pest control is limited and there are also very few cases of success. However, in recent years, several ultralow oxygen (ULO) treatments were developed successfully to control a variety of pest on different perishable commodities. Black widow spiders were successfully controlled on table grapes. Vine mealybug was successfully controlled on grape rootstocks. Lettuce aphid was controlled successfully on lettuce. ULO treatment was also effective in controlling western flower thrips on head lettuce, but caused damage and reduced lettuce quality for some lettuce cultivars. However, postharvest storage of lettuce increased lettuce tolerance to ULO treatment and prevented injury. These progresses indicate that ULO treatment is promising for control of selected pests on selected commodities. More research efforts are needed to fully explore potential of controlled atmosphere treatment for postharvest pest control. Increasing commodity tolerance through postharvest storage should also be explored in developing safe and effective controlled atmosphere treatment for postharvest pest control.

Technical Abstract: Several controlled atmosphere treatments with ultralow oxygen (ULO treatments) have been developed for postharvest pest control on different types of perishable products. Complete control of green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia sp.), twopotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), and western flower thrips (Franklinella occidentalis) was achieved with 18 h fumigation with >99% nitrogen without injury to begonia seedlings. Lettuce aphid (Nasonovia ribisnigri), western flower thrips (F. occidentalis), and black widow spiders (Latrodectus hesperus) were successfully controlled on head lettuce, broccoli, and table grapes respectively without negative impact on product quality. Vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus, was successfully controlled without reducing vitality of grape benchgrafts. These studies illustrated a wide range of susceptibilities of different pest species as well as tolerance of different perishable commodities to ULO treatments. Fresh vegetables are more susceptible to injury by ULO treatments because they are evaluated primarily by their visual quality. In contrast, grape rootstocks were evaluated by their viability and growth and were tolerant to ULO treatment. However, tolerance of fresh commodities to ULO treatment can be enhanced through postharvest storage as demonstrated with iceberg lettuce for control of western flower thrips. Shorter treatment at higher temperature was found to be more effective against pest and safer to products in the case of control of western flower thrips on lettuce. Limitation, promises, and future research were also discussed.