The purpose of this research was to investigate post-harvest heat treatment of Valencia oranges as an effective disinfestation protocol (fast, no fruit damage) for the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann). Forced high-temperature air was applied under the following conditions: (a) exposure to air temperature of 56°C, for fast increase of temperature in the interior of the fruit, (b) reduction in air temperature to 47°C when the fruit centre reached 47°C and (c) maintenance of fruits in the chamber for another 30 min. Relative humidity in the treatment chamber was kept between 50% and 65% during treatment. Forced air at 47°C applied for 30 min on eggs before hatch or late third instar larvae (the most heat-tolerant stages) resulted in complete kill. Egg and larval sensitivity to high temperature differed between a wild strain and a laboratory genetic-sexing strain based on white pupa mutation. In this strain males emerge from brown pupae and females from white pupae. In particular, mature eggs from the wild strain were significantly more temperature resistant than eggs from the laboratory strain. Exposure of Valencia oranges of a diameter of 7-7.5 cm to 56°C forced air for about 86 and 99 min was required to increase temperature to 47°C at 1.5 cm depth and the fruit centre respectively. Treated oranges showed no substantial peel or interior deterioration, or change in colour and taste when kept at 25°C and 50-60% RH for a period of up to 1 month following treatment. Treatment in 1% O2 atmosphere, produced by flushing of CO2 into the treatment chamber, resulted in about 1°C reduction in killing temperature and faster increase in temperature inside the fruit to a lethal level.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science
- Medfly quarantine disinfestation
- Medfly strain temperature sensitivity
- Valencia orange disinfestation