Improved postharvest market access treatments for horticultural commodities

Project Number

3097

Project Type & Status

Core-Complete

Project Leader

Researchers

John (Jack) W. Armstrong
Allan Woolf
Peter Leach
Pauline Wyatt
John Golding
Francis De Lima

Impact Delivery Themes

Improved postharvest market access treatments for horticultural commodities

Project Summary

The disruption to trade caused by quarantine pests and diseases is a significant issue for Australian and New Zealand horticulture and this has recently been exacerbated due to the restriction of several widely used quarantine treatments, such as dimethoate and methyl bromide. There is an urgent need to review and improve the current disinfestation methods and to develop new export protocols.

This project was the first phase of a two phase process to review and develop improved market access treatments. The first phase has reviewed and summarised the postharvest disinfestation research that has been done to date, relevant to both Australia and New Zealand horticulture, identified combination end-point treatments (e.g. cold, heat, modified atmosphere, fumigants and/or electromagnetic energy) for disinfestation, and provided recommendations for areas where further research is required.

The second phase of this project will investigate selected end-point combination treatments most likely to deliver the required efficacy, while maintaining product quality and developing new effective postharvest disinfestation protocols targeting both internal pests (e.g. fruit flies and codling moth) and surface pests (e.g. mealybugs and mites) to safeguard international trade for Australian and New Zealand horticulture (using model crops such as cherries, nectarines, mandarins, oranges, tomatoes, capsicums and table grapes).

Key Outputs

  • A review and summary of the postharvest disinfestation research that has been done to date that is relevant to Australian and New Zealand horticulture.

  • Recommendations for the development of new effective postharvest disinfestation treatments targeting both internal and surface pests to safeguard international trade for Australian and NZ horticulture.

  • Protocols outlining the way in which new effective postharvest disinfestation treatments can be implemented.

  • Maintain and expand capability in developing phytosanitary treatments.

Research end-users and beneficiaries

The research end-users are Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, Horticulture New Zealand, export industry representatives for key fruit and vegetable industries, risk assessors and managers at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand.

The beneficiaries of this research are the horticulture industry and growers.

Impact

This project has reviewed postharvest disinfestation research relevant to fruit and vegetable exports and provides recommendations for research to develop alternative effective disinfestation protocols for industry.

There is an urgent need to review and improve the current disinfestation methods and to develop new export protocols due to the phasing out of several fumigants/chemicals including dimethoate and methyl bromide. This work will help ensure continued access to important overseas markets, enhance the profitability and reputation of the Australian and New Zealand horticulture industries and lead to the development and improvement of new markets currently closed due to quarantine issues.