WHO would have thought that earth could help effectively control insects in unsealed grain storage and packaged food?
Western Australian researchers are commencing preliminary work on a new generation micro fined noncrystalline silicon dioxide dust, produced from diatomaceous earth, that they believe could provide an exciting new approach to insect control in unsealed bins and shipping containers.
Department of Agriculture and Food principal research scientist YongLin Ren said it was an opportunity to develop novel technologies to protect grains from insects.
Associate Professor Ren has begun researching the food grade novel dust at Murdoch University’s stored grain research laboratory at its School of Biological Science and Biotechnology.
The work is being undertaken in collaboration with researchers from Chinese academy of Cereal Science in Beijing to discover the dust’s insecticidal properties.
“The new generation dust is very safe. Its dosage is low at 0.1g/kg of grain for the control of insect pests,” Dr Ren said.
“There are currently no non-chemical and cost effective treatments for grain insect control under storage and during transport. Initial laboratory bioassay across a range of insects at adult stages has demonstrated a strong potential as an insecticide.
“This low dosage product also could be an alternative to manage phosphine resistance.”
Dr Ren said that in comparison with all existing commercially available diatomaceous earth dusts, the advantages of this novel dust was a dose rate 10-20 times lower and a more rapid kill.
He said further research to develop super high efficient food grade natural treatments, based on diatomaceous earths that protect grains from insect pests during storage and transport, was currently proposed as an important activity of the future Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC).
“If the PBCRC bid is successful, research will be undertaken to deliver diatomaceous earth based new technologies that safeguard Australian grain exports which are valued at more than seven billion dollars per year,” Dr Ren said. “In the domestic market this technology will help ensure that cereals, grains, oil seeds and pulses are ‘green and clean’, and environmentally friendly.”