Food Technology Information Center

Consultancy projects, research and development

I. Quality preservation of stored products:

Chemical-free pest management cuts rice waste

EUREKA INOVARROZ project in Portugal. FTIC supplied ancillary storage equipment, consultancy services and monitoring equipment for an EU funded project to develop the storage of organic rice under hermetic conditions. This sustainable technology enables less weight losses caused due to insects, molds and rodents. It is an alternative to chemicals, leaving the rice clean and pesticide-free. Today this technology is applied in India and other developing countries. It has been chosen as EUREKA success story.

A Novel Approach to the Protection of Cocoa Beans by Preventing Free Fatty Acid Formation under Hermetic Storage

Cocoa is a tropical product that grows in climates characterized by hot and humid conditions but under tropical climates storage conditions, because of the high ambient humidity there is a fast degradation of the beans due to micro flora activity which cause rise in the Free Fatty Acid content. An increase in free fatty acids (FFA) content in dry cocoa beans is a significant factor that determines its quality. A storage condition for good quality cocoa beans is 6% MC, but the beans are usually between 7 & 8% MC. Therefore in this project we investigated the beans' quality preservation under hermetic conditions when the beans are at high MC. The technology is applied at the major producers of cocoa are Ghana, Indonesia and in the Ivory Coast where the means are low and the quality is preserved. This work was presented at the 10th IWCSPP in Portugal.

Hermetic and modified atmosphere storage of shelled peanuts to prevent Free Fatty Acid and aflatoxin formation.

Storing shelled peanuts in sub-tropical conditions, in order to save storage volume, is very limited due to micro flora development with the possibility of aflatoxins formation, hence fast degradation of the nuts. The development of free fatty acids (FFA), molds and aflatoxins formation was studied on shelled peanuts with 7.0% and 8.0% moisture contents stored under hermetically sealed conditions or in an atmosphere of 99% carbon dioxide and in comparison to aerobic storage at 30°±1°C for 3 months. Enriching the peanuts environment with CO₂ suppressed the development of micro flora and lipase activity resulting in high quality peanuts with low FFA content over a period of 90 days.

II. Insect control systems:

Grain aeration in silos

Ambar is a feed producer company which has silos. Due to a decision in Ambar to built another four 47 m hight silos, FTIC's expertise planned the silos with modern aeration system to prevent insects activity and preserve the grains' quality. This project requires the deep understanding of the biological, ecological, physical and mechanical aspects within the ecosystem created in the silo. For better understanding:

Control of stored grain insects by using nitrogen in large concrete silos in Cyprus

Nitrogen (N₂) was applied in three concrete silos each containing 2,400-tonnes of grain for controlling stored grain insects. Structural sealing was carried out and air tight valves were installed to improve the air tightness of the bins. Using a PSA N₂ generator the oxygen (O₂) concentration was reduced in 44-56 hours below 0.9% and after that it was continuously maintained between 0.2-0.9% up to 23.8 days. Treatment of 18.7 and 23.8 days on grain temperature of 26°C and 22°C, respectively, was effective for the control of the adults of important stored grain insects Oryzaephilus surinamensis, Tribolium confusum and Rhyzopertha dominica. The N₂ MA provided a full control of studied stored grain insects, free-residues products, no environment chemical contamination, low occupational hazard, no-dependence on insect resistance and full control and automation of the treatment operation. On the basis of these trials the N₂ MA technology is a successful alternative to phosphine Siroflo/EcO₂fume and contact insecticides for the control of stored grain insects in large concrete silos.

Aromatic protection in food factories

Random penetration of insects to food factories is a common issue which leads to food contamination. Treating doors and open pathways into the production area with an aromatic phyto-Extract repels insects. Phyto-extracts are naturally occurring plant substances as insect repellents and anti-feedants will substantially contribute to integrated pest management. We have pursued this subject through research and development together with Biopack a Commercial Company in Israel, whose web-site provides relevant information on the practical applications of this innovative technology.

Thermal disinfestation of dates

Thermal disinfestation technology is based on the principle of transfer of hot air through a channel where dates are placed on trays containing 3 kg each. After the successful implementation of the thermal disinfestation technology on the major cultivar- Medjool in this work thermal disinfestation of date cultivars Hadrawi, Halawi, Zahidi, Derhi and Ameri was investigated as an alternative to methyl bromide in Israel. Whenever the airflow through the bulk of dates was above 1.4 m/sec the target temperature of 50°C was achieved within three hours from the start of the heating of the chamber. In all tests, where the temperature increase was at these rates, disinfestation was successful. In these field tests no changes in color of dates were found, similarly, the disinfestation pr°Cess did not alter the taste of the dates. In contrast, there was a slight decrease in moisture content of the dates in dependence of the ambient conditions and the initial moisture content that influenced a reduction of 1 to 2 percentage of moisture content of the dates. Thermal disinfestation method was found as a suitable alternative technology to the methyl bromide in all biological, environmental and financial aspects and has been adopted by the Israeli environmental protection ministry since 2010 in accordance with Montréal protocol.

Fumigation of fresh herbs with phosphine as a new quarantine treatment

Today exported herbs are fumigated with methyl bromide (MB) to achieve a total mortality of all insect developmental stages found in the products, MB is highly phytotoxic and only effective as a pesticide when the fumigation is carried out at temperatures over 21°C. Phosphine fumigation can be an effective quarantine treatment that can control field insect pests after exposure of 24 hours at the low temperature of 4°C and can be considered as MB alternative treatment providing high quality fresh spices that must be marketed the harvested herbs within 3 days while kept at temperature of about 4°C.

Preventing insect penetration from food packages.

Food packages serve as the last barrier for insects before it reaches the customer. There are several speicies of insects known by their ability to bore and penetrate plastic bags. FTIC's expertise found a natural phyto-extract that serves both as an antifeedant and as a repellent when is laminated into the plastic sheets (patents: PCT/IL99/00354 and 2B 7,749,525). For more information: Natural nontoxic insect repellent packaging materials.

III. R & D of new pesticides

Since the rising awareness of the world to protect the environment more and more pesticides are passed out leading to the need to find alternatives. To accomplish this goal FTIC is escorting companies that market solutions to insect control. Within the registration pr°Cess FTIC has done laboratory efficiency tests, semi-commercial trials to investigate the impact of the substance on food in the Israeli climate and joined all authority meetings needed for the registration.

FTIC has helped in the registration pr°Cess of VAPORMATETM to control Nitidulidae beetles in dates and stored product pests in grains. Read more.

FTIC has investigated the efficacy of the fumigant Propylene Oxide (PPO).