The rise of phytosanitary irradiation

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Grand Ball Room Foyer (Pacific Beach Hotel)
Peter Follett , US Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, USDA - ARS, Hilo, HI
Allison Swedman , USDA-ARS, Hilo, HI
Phytosanitary treatments such as irradiation disinfest host commodities of quarantine insect pests before they are exported to areas where the pests do not occur, and are often the simplest approach to overcome regulatory trade barriers and gain market access. The United States, Australia and the International Plant Protection Convention have approved the generic radiation dose of 150 Gy for quarantine treatment of tephritid fruit flies, and the U.S. has approved the generic dose of 400 Gy for other insects except pupae and adult Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). The availability of generic radiation treatments has resulted in a steady increase in the international use of phytosanitary irradiation for trade in tropical fruits and vegetables in the past 10 years. Hawaii has been exporting about 12 million lbs of irradiated of fresh fruits and vegetables annually since 2000. Our lab has studied radiation tolerance in 25 quarantine insect pests, with recent work on coffee berry borer, western flower thrips and rough sweet potato weevil. The development of small-scale cabinet style x-ray machines could provide farmers and packinghouses with in-house treatment capability, and accelerate adoption of the technology.
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