• Hoover, K K. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Methyl bromide (MeBr) emissions in the U.S. will not decline considerably until its use for quarantine and pre-shipment purposes associated with wood packaging materials (WPM) is addressed. Building on our years of promising research on dielectric heating of WPM in collaboration with scientists at USDA, wood products labs in Canada, and in consultation with regulatory agencies, our goal is to produce the necessary information to support a formal submission to and approval by the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) of radio frequency (RF) as an alternative to MeBr for treatment of WPM and other wood commodities. Currently there are only two accepted treatments [MeBr and conventional heat treatment (HT)] and HT cannot replace MeBr for many applications. At the same time that these measures were approved, the IPPC identified, as a matter of urgency, the need to adopt further treatments for use under the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. The objectives of this proposal are to demonstrate that RF is equally, if not more, effective for killing pests in wood compared with MeBr, less costly, and environmentally superior to currently available treatments. We will define the lethal temperatures for killing pests under worst-case scenario conditions, using this information to develop and verify a proposed treatment schedule. The economics and life cycle analysis of RF will be contrasted with MeBr and conventional HT. Outcomes will be delivered to end users and appropriate regulatory authorities through extension and outreach efforts. This proposal is in response to CUN 11: Food Processing Plants and Post-Harvest Use by NPMA for Facilities, Commodities, and Objects. As stated in the CUN, MeBr is used on an as-needed basis for trailer fumigations of product or packaging material. Currently, about 80% of all pallets fumigated with MeBr are treated as unitized loads with product for pre-shipment purposes. The remaining 20% are fumigated prior to shipment to the pallet customers, as IPPC-compliant pallets. In addition to reducing MeBr use for WPM used in international trade, the work proposed here will develop the baseline RF efficacy data against a variety of pests in wood, which can be translated into processes specific to food products such as grains and nuts. The outcome will be an approved alternative treatment to replace MeBr fumigation for wood products used in world trade, which will vastly reduce MeBr emissions into the atmosphere.

Effective start/end date9/1/092/28/13


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $688,187.00


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