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Postharvest management of insects in horticultural products by conventional and organic means, primarily for quarantine purposes

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Purpose of review: The presence of arthropod pests in or on horticultural commodities has caused major disruptions in the storage, processing and shipment of these products. Management of these pests has posed a problem to humans for thousands of years. Current technology has led to the development of numerous means (chemical, mechanical or procedural) to control these pests. For the most part, postharvest pest control is focused on trade and exports. The accidental introduction of a pest into a place where it is not known to be present has resulted in the establishment of quarantine restrictions and export treatment requirements. This review focuses on the most current state of postharvest and quarantine treatments in development and currently in use on horticultural products. The current implementation and acceptance of these treatments is also addressed.

Findings: Conventional postharvest pest control measures include treatments with chemical fumigants and topical pesticides. Concerns over environmental pollution and human health have obstructed the use of conventional chemicals and fumigants and further development of new chemicals for postharvest treatments. Irradiation is considered a conventional treatment, however, it does not use chemicals nor does it result in detectible residues in the commodity. Improvements in engineering commercial irradiators such as restricting source exposure, and the development of more powerful X-ray converters of electron beams, as well as refinement of generic treatments for groups of pests, had led to the expansion of this treatment to achieve quarantine goals.

Directions for future research: Organic compliant postharvest treatments have received much attention and are the area of the most research. These treatments can include topical treatments with organic, natural pesticides and biologically derived fumigants, temperature extremes, modified atmospheres, and other novel physical treatments. The status of postharvest treatments for the control of arthropod pests both approved and in development is discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

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