Development of effective and sustainable techniques for the purpose of infestation-free horticultural products in international trade chains. The use of methyl bromide fumigation on horticultural products is prohibited in the EU and in many countries outside the EU. For this reason, import and export companies have a real need for alternative and sustainable disinfestation techniques that can quickly and effectively kill quarantine organisms and other pests. Therefore, within the public-private partnership (PPP) Phytotec, a large consortium is working on developing new disinfestation techniques with which horticultural products can be kept free of pests effectively and sustainably.
As well as being effective, the disinfestation techniques must result in no residue or emissions and it must be possible to apply them in the international trade chains for little cost and either without an admission procedure or with a shortened admission procedure. These new techniques must also be accepted by international trade.
CATT disinfestation method
The CATT (Controlled Atmosphere Temperature Treatment) disinfestation method is equally as effective as methyl bromide in eradicating insects, mites and certain nematodes, and not much more expensive. CATT has already been utilised in the strawberry production chain for years as a way of combating the harmful strawberry mite. Previous research has revealed that CATT also has the potential to effectively eradicate western flower thrips while allowing the product to retain its quality.
However, further development of the CATT disinfestation method is still necessary before it can be suited to more widespread application in the field. For instance, there is a need for a shorter CATT method, given the fact that the current application is frequently considered to be too time-consuming and not easy to incorporate into the trade chain. This mainly applies to fresh products.
Other disinfestation methods
Various other potential disinfestation methods have also been developed internationally. However, the majority of disinfestation methods are unsuitable for use on fresh horticultural products, or they cannot easily be scaled up for low costs.
To assess the effectiveness of alternative disinfestation techniques and the corresponding application methods on various groups of horticultural products (chrysanthemum, apple/pear, tomato, sweet pepper and flower bulbs) against a number of significant pests (thrips, tomato leaf miner moth, whitefly, tulip gall mite, codling moth/false codling moth). It will then be possible to apply these in the trade chains on a large scale and at low costs. They will also be accepted internationally.
The study consists of literature studies, experiments in the lab (explorations and fine-tuning), scale-ups of practical tests, confirmation tests and publications (in connection with international acceptance). These processes are carried out step by step.
I. Continued development of the CATT technique by:
Step 1: Fine-tuning with CATT formulas in laboratory.
Step 2: Scale-up test with CATT formula as determined in step 1. These tests will be carried out on a scale appropriate for the field at the treatment companies.
Step 3: Large-scale tests with 30,000 quarantine organisms. This is necessary in order to obtain international acceptance.
Step 4: Publication of the results in a peer-reviewed international scientific journal.
II. Development of alternative techniques by:
Step 1: Carrying out a literature study to evaluate the potential techniques and to establish the most promising techniques as solutions. The techniques must be effective, result in no residue or emissions, require either no admission procedure or a shortened admission procedure and be able to be applied in the international trade chains for acceptable costs.
Step 2: Pilot test/screening: carrying out the proof of principle with insect-product combinations.
Step 3: Physiological study of the quarantine organisms and the products.
Step 4: Validation and scaling up of the most promising methods. These tests will be carried out on a scale appropriate for the field at the treatment companies.
Step 5: Confirmation test for the benefit of international acceptance.
Step 6: Publication of the results in peer-reviewed international scientific journals.