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Physical methods for inactivation of insects in organic-cereals


Key words Insect, cereals, weevil, disinfestation
Latest version 2011/08/31
Completed by FRIP

How does it work?

Primary objective The aim is to prevent or suppress harmful insects in bio-cereals by non-chemical methods.
Working principle Bio- or organic cereals products are specific in comparison with conventionally precessed cereals because of their higher sensibility and vulnerability to various insects’. No chemical applications are allowed. There are some attempts to find a solution for coping with the fact that harmful insects can be present at each developmental stage and can destroy the bio-grain.

Generally there are four different approaches under research and testing.

  1. Using of ‘’’modulated pulses of high-frequency’’’ (HF) electromagnetic fields and simultaneously of action of vacuum (+HF field induced plasma). For the mortality of insect the value of the electric field intensity was found as Ē = 4.0-5.0 kV/cm in the pulse mode at the base frequency of 47.5 MHz [1]. The efficiency of this method and environment safety approach is considerable.
  2. Using ‘’’microwaves ‘’’ (operating at 2450 MHz) as a tool of disinfestation showed to be an efficient method depending on the specific conditions – material humidity, power levels and time exposure. With respect to tested barley samples – total mortality of all life stages of ‘’T. Castaneum’’ was achieved at a power level of 400 W and an exposure time of 56 s or 28 s at 500 W [3].
  3. Specific ‘’’carbon dioxide’’’ concentrations (15.67 - 10.97 v/v) in combination with temperature stimulation (15 - 30.5°C) for a certain exposure time (72h) caused significant damage to the insect [2]. For fungal infestation the effect was lower.
  4. product/material ‘’’storage under vacuum’’’ conditions: several patents describe possible approaches for how to reach hypobaric conditions. The supposed effected of insect prevention or destruction is initially combined with the use of fumigants or pesticides (in some of under mentioned cases) which is not compatible with organic products.
  • Impermeable envelope and system of layers are used [7].
  • Combination of storage under controlled temperature environment plus exposure to ultra-low oxygen conditions provoke the prolonged time of commodity storage and destruction or limitation for pests incidence in a very safe, cost-effective and reliable way [8].
  • Due to differences in product characteristic, different approaches can be found. The suppression of insect presented on fresh products is solved by pressure exposition in a vacuum chamber (610 – 3330 Pa) for an adequate time necessary to deplete any oxygen in the target insect) or by a system of vacuum chambers with cooling effect [9].
  • Using warm, inert gas (as nitrogen, carbon dioxide i.e. or other gas mixtures) – [10].

Methods combining the effect of CO2 and ethyl formate were researched and good results were achieved. Nevertheless because of the” BIO” label, this method cannot be used.

Additional effects Slight change in quality characteristics such as α-amylase activity, diastatic power, soluble protein, viscosity i.e., depending on the scale of used principles, parameters, conditions.
Important process parameters Time, temperature, concentration, pressure, frequency i.e.
Important product parameters moisture content

What can it be used for?

Products Cereals, barley, rice i.e.
Operations Disinsection before product/grain storage.
Solutions for short comings These above mentioned technologies can be used as a replacement for conventional chemical methods.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Not known yet.

Currently running test confirmed that vacuum storage of grain does not influence the germination.

Operations Not known yet.
Other limitations Capital and energy intensity should be observed depending on the specific method applied.
Risks or hazards When proper conditions not applied: grain destruction or degradation.


Maturity at laboratory scale
Modularity /Implementation It can be inserted into an existing production line
Consumer aspects Not specified yet. Consumers expect their cereals free of insects. When they want to buy bio-cereals they expect that no chemical methods have been used.
Legal aspects Regulation no. 178/2002.

Directive 89/107/EEC.

Environmental aspects Environmentally friendly.

Further Information

Institutes UAAS, INRA, University of Manitoba - DBE
Companies Electron Processing Systems
References [1] Mishenko, A. A., Malinin, O. A., Rashkovan, V. M., Basteev, A. V., Bazyma, L. A., Mazalov, Y. P., et al. (2000). Complex high-frequency technology for protection of grain against pests. Journal of Microwave Power and Electromagnetic Energy, 35(3), 179-184.

[2] Fleurat-Lessard, F., & Dupuis, S. A. (2010). Comparative analysis of upper thermal tolerance and CO2 production rate during heat shock in two different european strains of sitophilus zeamais (coleoptera: Curculionidae). Journal of Stored Products Research, 46(1), 20-27.

[3] Vadivambal, R., Jayas, D. S., & White, N. D. G. (2008). Determination of mortality of different life stages of tribolium castaneum (coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in stored barley using microwaves. Journal of Economic Entomology, 101(3), 1011-1021.

[4] Cleghorn, D. A., Nablo, S. V., Ferro, D. N., & Hagstrum, D. W. (2002). Electron beam treatment parameters for control of stored product insects. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 63(3-6), 575-579.

[5] Haritos, V. S., Damcevski, K. A., & Dojchinov, G. (2006). Improved efficacy of ethyl formate against stored grain insects by combination with carbon dioxide in a 'dynamic' application. Pest Management Science, 62(4), 325-333.

[6] Bera, A., Sinha, S. N., Gaur, A., & Srivastava, C. (2007). Effect of carbon dioxide rich atmosphere on storage insects and fungi. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 77(11), 756-761.

[7] Yong-Biao Liu, Salinas, CA, United States of America. Patent No.: US 6,766,612 B1; Jul. 27, 2004.

[8] Yong-Biao Liu, Salinas, CA, United States of America. Patent No.: US 7,765,733 B1; Aug. 3, 2010.

[9] Richard S. Brown, Chualar, CA, United States of America. Patent No.: US 2007/0193454 A1; Aug. 23, 2007.

[10] DE – A- 4429850

Time, temperature, concentration, pressure, frequency i.e. moisture content Packaging of solids 2.2.2 physical, chemical stabilizing, other other Specification to “(insects in cereals) AND ((weevil)) AND (disinfestations) showed 6 results. Searching of “weevil co2 cereals” provided 3 replies. WikiSysop :Template:Review document :Template:Review status

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Created by Hamoen on 8 December 2011, at 14:07