Date disinfestation by radio frequency treatments


Abstract: Quarantine and phytosanitary treatments of stored dates are important to prevent the damage caused by insects feeding on these fruits. Radio frequency (RF) have been proposed as one of the most effective and efficient disinfestation methods for postharvest treatments of agricultural products. RF applications have been evaluated to experimentally develop treatment protocol for disinfesting dates. Siwi or Deglet Nour dates, infested by Carpophilus hemipterus (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae).Experiments were performed in a pilot-scale RF heating system and effects on beetle mortality and insect emigration was evaluate after two sets of experiments at different RF voltage (V) – time (s) combinations. Dates exposed for 6 minutes to 5000V RF treatments was evidenced to be effective in killing larvae, pupae and adults of the pests and emigration results showed that the application of 2500 V RF for 8-10 minutes to infested dates resulted in nearly 100% of adults escaping from fruits.These achievements provide a new strategy for controlling key insect pests of dates that could be applied at the industrial scale, allowing for the quick disinfestation of fruits without affecting the fruit with harmful substances such as residues from chemical treatments.

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