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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Physiological Effects of Physical Postharvest Treatments on Insects

Author
item Neven, Lisa

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2002
Publication Date: April 20, 2003
Citation: Neven, L.G. 2003. Physiological effects of physical postharvest treatments on insects. HortTechnology. 13:272-275.

Interpretive Summary: As concerns about the safety of our food supply increase along with concerns about the impact of agricultural chemicals on our environment, the development of non-chemical quarantine treatments to meet export requirements has become increasingly necessary. The types of physical treatments used have been largely determined by commodity tolerances and processing practices. The most common treatments use temperature extremes such as heat and cold. Other treatments include the use of low oxygen or elevated carbon dioxide atmospheres. Another group of treatments include the application of energy, such as ionizing radiation, microwaves, ultraviolet radiation, infrared radiation, radio frequency, electron beam, X-rays, and electricity to control infesting insects. Although the effects of these physical treatments can impact commodity quality, the goal of the treatments is to kill infesting insects to meet quarantine requirements. The effects of these physical treatments on insects are discussed.

Technical Abstract: As concerns about the safety of our food supply increase along with concerns about the impact of agricultural chemicals on our environment, the development of non-chemical quarantine treatments to meet export requirements has become increasingly necessary. The types of physical treatments used have been largely determined by commodity tolerances and processing practices. The most common physical treatments use temperature extremes such as heat (above 40 degrees Celsius) and cold (below 10 degrees Celsius). Other physical treatments commonly include the use of controlled or modified atmospheres (low oxygen, elevated carbon dioxide). Current technology has led to investigations in the application of energy to control infesting insects. These treatments include ionizing radiation, microwaves, ultraviolet radiation, infrared radiation, radio frequency, electron beam, X-rays, and electricity. Although the effects of these physical treatments can impact commodity quality, the goal of the treatments is to kill infesting (real or in certain instances, potential) insects to meet quarantine requirements. The effects of physical treatments on insect mortality and fecundity are discussed.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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