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Application of Vacuum to Sealed Flexible Containers: A Viable Alternative to Disinfestation of Durable Commodities with Methyl Bromide


¹Department of Stored Products, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Israel
²Haogenplast Projects Ltd., Israel;
³Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam, Kahramanmaras 46060, Turkey
Corresponding author: simchaf@volcani.agri.gov.il

Abstract: This study forms part of a project aimed at eliminating the need for fumigation with methyl bromide (MB) to control stored product insects through the development of novel, vacuum-hermetic technology. First objective was to study the effects of low air pressures, temperature and exposure time on insect mortality in stored cocoa beans. A second was to study the potential of an innovative, transportable, sealed storage system as a practical tool for controlling insect pests at low air pressures. Two insects, both major pests of cacao beans in producer countries were used: Ephestia cautella, and Tribolium castaneum. The experiments conducted in the laboratory showed that the eggs were the most resistant stage to storage under a low air pressure of 55 ± 10 mm Hg at the two studied temperatures of 18°C and 30°C. Times needed to obtain 99% mortality of T. castaneum eggs at 18°C and 30°C were 96 and 53 hours respectively. For E. cautella eggs 99% mortality at 18°C and 30°C was obtained after 149 and 41 hours respectively. Two experiments were carried out in the field trial, each using 15 m³ capacity plastic containers termed the “GrainPro Cocoon™” or “Volcani Cubes™”, specially adapted to facilitate low pressure ("vacuum cube"). The pressure in the vacuum cube was established within the range of 23 to 75 mm Hg. In one cube, the low pressure was held for 3 days and in the second, for 7 days. In both cubes 100% mortality of all test insects was obtained.

Key words: vacuum-hermetic technology, cacao, low pressure, Ephestia cautella, Tribolium castaneum, storage.

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