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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325656

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

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Advances in developing alternative treatments for postharvest pest control

item Liu, Yong Biao

Submitted to: International Congress of Entomology
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2016
Publication Date: 9/25/2016
Citation: Liu, Y.-B. 2016. Advances in developing alternative treatments for postharvest pest control. International Congress of Entomology, September 25-30, 2016, Orlando, Florida.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: USDA-ARS made two significant advances in the last 10 years in the development of alternative treatments for postharvest pest control: oxygenated phosphine fumigation and nitric oxide fumigation. Oxygenated phosphine is phosphine fumigation in an oxygen enriched atmosphere. It is significantly more effective than regular phosphine fumigation against pests, controls insects tolerant to regular phosphine fumigation, and reduces treatment time. Oxygenated phosphine fumigation was also demonstrated to be safe to fresh products. Nitric oxide was discovered to be a potent fumigant against insects and mites. Because of its reactive nature with oxygen, nitric oxide fumigation needs to be conducted under ultralow oxygen conditions. More than 10 species of insects and mites have been tested to date, and nitric oxide fumigation is effective against all pests tested at various life stages. Nitric oxide fumigation is also safe for fresh products when flushed with nitrogen gas to dilute nitric oxide at the end of fumigation based on small-scale laboratory tests. In addition, nitric oxide fumigation enhanced postharvest quality of fresh products such as strawberries. Nitric oxide fumigation is not expected to have toxic residue in the treated products. Oxygenated phosphine fumigation and nitric oxide fumigation, developed at USDA-ARS, represent significant advances in developing alternative treatment for postharvest pest control and have great potential benefits for agriculture.