Novel Irradiation Technology for Phytosanitary Treatment of Food Commodities and Promotion of Trade

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

D61026

CRP

2256

Approved Date

9 September 2021

Status

2 - New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals

Description

The commercial use of ionising radiation as a post-harvest phytosanitary measure to overcome trade restrictions on fresh food commodities is increasing. It involves gamma, electron beam and x ray irradiation to doses less than 1 kGy and enables trade of agricultural products that would otherwise be restricted due to risk-based pest controls on shipments of fresh commodities. However, most irradiation treatments in international standards are specific to one pest species. It is desirable to have generic treatments with one radiation dose applicable to a broad range of different pests. Therefore, research will first identify the most radiation-tolerant pest species in each of the key pest groups for trade (see list below). In phase 2, tens of thousands of individuals of these "most-tolerant" pests will be reared and experiments will be used to confirm efficacious generic doses. These efficacious treatment doses of radiation will be proposed for inclusion in the standards of the International Plant Protection Convention as International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. These new generic irradiation treatments, plus those already in place, would address over 90% of quarantine issues for fresh fruits and vegetables and be a major accomplishment for the commercial use of phytosanitary irradiation. Factors that might affect treatment efficacy will also be investigated to foster innovation by encouraging novel research and technology that could enhance the effects of ionising radiation on pest species and/or improve radiation tolerance of the fresh commodity (e.g. mode of delivery of the radiation, applied dose rates, oxygen content and any other external factors that may be optimised to improve the phytosanitary measure).
KEY PEST GROUPS FOR GENERIC DOSE PHYTOSANITARY IRRADIATION
• Weevils of the family Curculionidae• Leaf miners of the family Agromyzidae• Mealybugs of the family Pseudococcidae• Scale insects of the family Diaspididae• Eggs and larvae of the order Lepidoptera• All other regulated insect pests other than pupa and adult Lepidoptera• Mites of the family Tetranychidae• Pupae of the order Lepidoptera• Mites in families other than Tetranychidae

Objectives

To validate the absorbed radiation doses proposed as generic treatments for nine key groups of pests and produce at least five generic phytosanitary irradiation treatments using large numbers of pests. Factors that might affect treatment efficacy will also be investigated to stimulate the development of new techniques for irradiation to combat pests and maintain food quality.

Specific objectives

To undertake research to identify examples of the most radiation-tolerant species in each of nine pest groups important for trade (see list below). Colonies of the pest species may need to be established to rear sufficient numbers of pests for the research.

THE NINE KEY PEST GROUPS FOR GENERIC DOSE PHYTOSANITARY IRRADIATION
• Weevils of the family Curculionidae
• Leaf miners of the family Agromyzidae
• Mealybugs of the family Pseudococcidae
• Scale insects of the family Diaspididae
• Eggs and larvae of the order Lepidoptera
• All other regulated insect pests other than pupa and adult Lepidoptera
• Mites of the family Tetranychidae
• Pupae of the order Lepidoptera
• Mites in families other than Tetranychidae

To conduct tests with large numbers of individuals of each of the most radiation-tolerant species to confirm efficacious irradiation doses for each of the nine groups as a whole.

To investigate factors that may affect the application of generic doses in order to research and develop improved future treatment technologies (e.g. irradiation in combination with modified atmosphere packaging [O2], natural extracts etc. and methods to reduce pest tolerance and/or sustain fresh fruit and vegetable quality when irradiation is applied).

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