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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323238

Research Project: Methyl Bromide Replacement: Post-harvest Treatment of Perishable Commodities

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Nitric oxide fumigation for postharvest pest control

item Liu, Yong Biao

Submitted to: Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2015
Publication Date: 11/8/2015
Citation: Liu, Y.-B. 2015. Nitric oxide fumigation for postharvest pest control. In: Proceedings of the 2015 International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions, November 8-11, 2015, San Diego, California.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Nitric oxide fumigation is effective against all arthropod pests at various life stages tested. Nine insect pests at various life stages and bulb mites were subjected to nitric oxide fumigation treatments under ultralow oxygen conditions of =50 ppm O2 in 1.9L glass jars as fumigation chambers. The insect species are codling moth, confused flour beetle, Indian meal moth, lettuce aphid, light brown apple moth, long-tailed mealybug, spotted wing drosophila, and western flower thrips. The nine insect species represent different body sizes, taxonomical groups, host materials (fresh plants vs stored products), and feeding habits (external vs internal) of the pests. Nitric oxide concentrations, treatment times, and temperatures varied by species and life stages due to variations among different pest species and life stages in susceptibility to nitric oxide fumigation. Complete control of all pest species at various life stages was achieved. Nitric oxide fumigation is also safe to fresh products when it is terminated by flushing with nitrogen to reduce the nitric oxide level in the fumigation chamber first before exposing products to ambient air to avoid reaction between nitric oxide and oxygen. Nitric oxide fumigation was also found to improve postharvest quality of strawberries in comparison with controls. This can bring important benefits to some delicate fresh products with short shelf-life. These results suggest that nitric oxide fumigation has potential to be an effective and safe alternative treatment for postharvest pest control on fresh commodities.