In protecting agricultural commodities against infestation, fumigation has been a traditional practice for farmers, traders, and processors. Insect infestation can cause millions of dollars worth of crops to be damaged every year during post-harvest handling. Adding to that the food loss during harvest season results in devastating effects on the global population as well as a huge waste of resources.
To solve this, chemicals such as carbon disulfide and hydrogen cyanide were first used as fumigants, but in recent years, methyl bromide and phosphine became more popular as safer, less toxic choices.
Fumigation has been linked to health risks such as respiratory problems
It was found, however, that both methyl bromide and phosphine still had adverse health effects on workers handling the fumigants. These chemicals are known to be carcinogenic and can cause respiratory difficulties.
Another problem seen is that these chemicals cannot be used on organic products. Thus, agricultural practitioners have now turned to carbon dioxide (CO2) as the safe, organic choice for fumigation. This technique leaves virtually zero chemical residue on the commodities and is not toxic to handlers.
Therefore, controlled atmosphere treatment using CO2 is considered to be a healthier, less hazardous practice because it eliminates the risk of contamination from harmful chemicals.
The process essentially aims to ‘suffocate’ the insects that are amongst the commodities. In all life stages, from eggs to adulthood, the insects would be eliminated to ensure a higher quality and safer consumption of food products.
Aligned with this, GrainPro has developed products around this practice. Hermetic technology fully integrates CO2 “fumigation” into the process of safely storing commodities, ensuring that these valuable agricultural products are placed in an airtight, moisture-tight environment, free of contaminants, and secured from damage brought about by external weather changes.
GrainPro's new CO2 Analyzer is perfect for monitoring the safety of commodities
An essential tool for conducting a successful organic controlled atmosphere treatment is the CO2 Analyzer, which reads the CO2 levels in the atmosphere where the commodities are stored. By using the CO2 Analyzer to regularly check on the state of the stored commodities, farmers and handlers can ensure that their products are safe from insect infestation and mold growth. Tied in with the reliability and durability of GrainPro’s storage and transport technology, commodities are sure to be preserved in both quality and quantity.
Date Published: September 11, 2018