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New Tools for Management of Phosphine Resistance

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Phosphine is the primary fumigant used to protect the majority of the world' s grain and a variety of other stored commodities from insect pests. Phosphine is playing an increasingly important role in the protection of commodities for two primary reasons. Firstly, use of the alternative fumigant, methyl bromide, has been sharply curtailed and is tightly regulated due to its role in ozone depletion, and secondly, consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of contact pesticides. Niche alternatives to phosphine exist, but they suffer from a range of factors that limit their use, including:

* Limited commercial adoption due to expense or slow mode of action;

* Poor efficacy due to low toxicity, rapid sorption, limited volatility or high density;

* Public health concerns due to toxicity to handlers or nearby residents, as well as risk of explosion;

* Poor consumer acceptance due to toxic residues or smell.

These same factors limit the prospects of quickly identifying and deploying a new fumigant. Given that resistance toward phosphine is increasing among insect pests, improved monitoring and management of resistance is a priority. Knowledge of the mode of action of phosphine as well as the mechanisms of resistance may also greatly reduce the effort and expense of identifying synergists or novel replacement compounds.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2006

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