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Export of Commercial Hass Avocados From Argentina Poses Negligible Risk of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) Infestation

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Argentina has to meet quarantine restrictions because of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), to export ‘Hass’ avocados, Persea americana Miller, to certain countries. Hass avocado at the hard, mature green stage is potentially a conditional nonhost for C. capitata and could open export markets without the need for a quarantine treatment. Trapping data from 1998 to 2006 showed that C. capitata was present in avocado orchards, particularly early in the harvest season. The host status of hard, mature green Hass avocado to C. capitata was evaluated using laboratory and field cage tests under no-choice conditions and by assessing natural levels of infestation in commercially harvested fruit from the main avocado production area. In total, 2,250 hard, mature green avocado fruit were exposed to 11,250 gravid females for 24 or 48 h after harvest in laboratory or field cages, and no infestations were found. During 11 seasons, 5,949 fruit in total were sampled from the trees and 992 fruit were collected from the ground, and in none of them were any live or dead fruit fly larvae found. Inspection of >198,000 commercial fruit at the packinghouse from 1998 to 2011 showed no symptoms of fruit fly infestation. These data exceed the published standards for determination of nonhost status, as well as the Probit 9 standard for development of quarantine treatments. Hass avocado harvested at the hard, mature green stage was not infested by C. capitata and seems to pose a negligible quarantine risk. As a consequence, no postharvest treatment or other quarantine actions should be required by importing countries.

Keywords: Mediterranean fruit fly; avocado; host plant resistance; quarantine security; risk analysis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC11369

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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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