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Expanding radiation quarantine treatments beyond fruit flies

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1 The potential of ionizing radiation as a disinfestation treatment for insects other than tephritid fruit flies is discussed. Radiation quarantine treatments are unique in that insects are not killed immediately but rendered sterile or incapable of completing development.

2 The most tolerant insect stage to radiation is that which is most developed. Female insects, but not always mites, are sterilized with equal or lower doses than males.

3 Insects irradiated with sterilizing doses usually have shorter longevities than non-irradiated ones. Low oxygen conditions often increase tolerance to radiation.

4 Insects in diapause are not more tolerant of radiation than non-diapausing ones.

5 Some pests of several groups, such as aphids, whiteflies, weevils, scarab beetles, and fruit flies, may be controlled with doses ≤ 100 Gy. Some lepidopterous pests and most mites require about 300 Gy. Stored product moths may require as much as 1 kGy to sterilize, and nematodes could need > 4 kGy.

6 Even though application of irradiation to pallet-loads of produce could mean that up to three times the minimum required dose is applied to the perimeter of the pallet, many fresh commodities tolerate doses required for quarantine security against many quarantined pests. Irradiation is arguably the most widely applicable quarantine treatment from the standpoint of commodity quality.

Keywords: Disinfestation; gamma radiation; ionizing radiation; irradiation; postharvest; quarantine treatment; radiation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2301 S. International Blvd., Weslaco, TX 78596, U.S.A.

Publication date: May 1, 2000


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