Insect Fragments in Flour: Relationship to Lesser Grain Borer (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) Infestation Level in Wheat and Rapid Detection Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

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We determined that the number of insect fragments, quantified using the standard flotation method, in flour milled from wheat infested with larvae, pupae, or preemergent adults of the lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica (F.), was proportional to infestation level. Wheat infested with a single preemergent adult contributed 28 and 10× as many fragments as wheat infested with a single larva or pupa, respectively. Using regression models that were developed from these data, we predicted that the maximum infestation level that would result in flour with fragment counts below the Food and Drug Administration defect action level (75 fragments/50 g of flour) was 0.95 and 1.5% (380–640 infested kernels/kg of wheat) for pupae and larvae, but it decreased to 0.05% (20 infested kernels/kg) when the grain was infested with preemergent adults. We also reexamined the accuracy and sensitivity of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for detecting insect fragments in flour by testing three different NIR spectrometers. NIRS-predicted numbers of insect fragments were correlated with the actual number of fragments. NIRS is less precise than the standard flotation method, but it is rapid, nondestructive, does not require extensive sample preparation, and could easily be automated for a more sophisticated sampling protocol for flour based on prescreening samples with NIRS followed up by use of the standard flotation method when necessary.

Keywords: Rhyzopertha dominica; flour; insect fragments; near-infrared spectroscopy; stored products

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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