Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Propylene oxide: A potential quarantine and pre-shipment fumigant for disinfestation of nuts

  • 80 Accesses

  • 5 Citations


Propylene oxide (PPO) was evaluated at a low pressure of 100 mm Hg for toxicity to different life stages of the Indianmeal mothPlodia interpunctella (Hübner) in the presence and absence of three species of nuts. Eggs and larvae were generally the most tolerant life stages in empty chambers and on the nut crops. Complete mortality of all life stages was achieved at a concentration x time (CT) product of 61.2 mg hl −1 for empty space fumigation. Dosages of 13.9, 60.3, 72.1 and 93.1 mgl −1 were required to kill 99% of the larvae when fumigation of 4-h duration took place in an empty chamber and in the presence of peanuts, almonds and walnuts, respectively. After an initial dose of 68.7 mgl −1 and a 5-h exposure time, sorption of PPO by peanuts, almonds and walnuts was relatively high, ranging from 87% of the initial concentration for peanuts to 91% for walnuts. PPO residues measured in peanuts, almonds and walnuts were 111, 46 and 80 ppm, respectively, 1 day after termination of fumigation. All of these values were below the 300 ppm maximum tolerance set by the FDA of the United States. These data show that the combination of PPO and low pressure has the potential to replace methyl bromide fumigation for quarantine and pre-shipment purposes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Alavanja, M.C.R., Blair, A. and Masters, M.N. (1990) Cancer mortality in the U.S. flour industry.J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 82:840–848.

  2. 2.

    Anon. (2000) Propylene oxide analysis distillation method. Internal Report, California Dried Fruit Association, Fresno, CA, USA.

  3. 3.

    Banks, H.J. (1986) Sorption and desorption of fumigants on grains: mathematical descriptions.in: Champ, B.R. and Highley, E. [Eds.] Pesticides and Humid Tropical Grain Storage Systems. ACIAR Proceedings No. 14, pp. 179–193.

  4. 4.

    Bell, C.H. (1976) The tolerance of immature stages of four stored product moths to methyl bromide.J. Stored Prod. Res. 12:1–10.

  5. 5.

    Bell, C.H. (1976) The tolerance of development stages of four stored product moths to phosphine.J. Stored Prod. Res. 12:77–86.

  6. 6.

    Champ, B.R. and Dyte, C.E. (1976) Report of the FAO Global Survey of Pesticide Susceptibility of Stored Grain Pests. FAO - UN, Rome, Italy.

  7. 7.

    Donahaye, E. (1990) Laboratory selection for resistance by the red flour beetle,Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), to an atmosphere of low oxygen concentration.Phytoparasitica 18:189–202.

  8. 8.

    Garry, V.F., Nelson, R.L., Griffith, J. and Haskins, M. (1990) Preparation for human study of pesticide applicators: sister chromatid exchanges and chromosome aberrations in cultured human lymphocytes exposed to selected fumigants.Teratog. Carcinog. Mutagen. 10:21–29.

  9. 9.

    Isikber, A.A., Navarro, S., Finkelman, S., Rindner, M., Azrieli, A. and Dias, R. (2001) Toxicity of propylene oxide in combination with vacuum or CO2 toTribolium castaneum. Annual International Res. Conf. on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions (San Diego, CA, USA), pp. 71–72.

  10. 10.

    Leesch, J.G., Gillenwater, H.B., Davis, R. and Wilson, R. Jr. (1979) Phosphine and methyl bromide fumigation of shelled peanuts.Peanut Sci. 6:18–26.

  11. 11.

    LeOra Software. (1987) POLO-PC: A Users’ Guide to Probit or Logit Analysis. LeOra Software, Berkeley, CA, USA.

  12. 12.

    Meylan, W., Papa, L., De Rosa, C.T. and Stara, J.F. (1986) Chemical of current interest — propylene oxide: health and environmental effects profile.Toxicol. Ind. Health 2:219–260.

  13. 13.

    Navarro, S. and Gonen, M. (1970) Some techniques for laboratory rearing and experimentation withEphestia cautella (WLK) (Lepidoptera, Phycitidae).J. Stored Prod. Res. 6:187–189.

  14. 14.

    Navarro, S., Isikber, A.A., Finkelman, S., Rindner, M., Azrieli, A. and Dias, R. (2004) Effectiveness of short exposures of propylene oxide alone and in combination with low pressure or carbon dioxide againstTribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae).J. Stored Prod. Res. 40:197–205.

  15. 15.

    Punj, G.K. (1969) Sorption of certain common fumigants by six different commodities (by bioassay).Bull. Grain Technol. 7:217–221.

  16. 16.

    SAS Institute. (1985) User’s Guide: Statistics. SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA.

  17. 17.

    USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) (2001) Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Process for exempting quarantine and pre-shipment applications of methyl bromide. Rules and Regulations, Federal Register 66(139):37752–37769.

  18. 18.

    Weast, R.C., Astle, M.J. and Beyer, W.H. (1986) CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 67th ed. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, USA.

  19. 19.

    Zettler, J.L. and Cuperus, G.W. (1990) Pesticide resistance inTribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) andRhyzopertha dominica (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) in wheat.J. Econ. Entomol. 83:1677–1681.

  20. 20.

    Zettler, J.L., Halliday, W.R. and Arthur, F.H. (1989) Phosphine resistance in insects infesting stored peanuts in the southeastern United States.J. Econ. Entomol. 82:1508–1511.

  21. 21.

    Zettler, J.L., Hartsell, P.L., Allred, D.B., Muhareb, J.S., Hurley, J.M. and Gill, R.F. (2002) Sorption and insect toxicity of propylene oxide in dried fruits and nuts.Proc. 8th International Working Conf. on Stored-product Protection (York, UK), pp. 921–924.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ali A. Isikber.

Additional information

http://www.phytoparasitica.org posting July 22, 2006

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Isikber, A.A., Navarro, S., Finkelman, S. et al. Propylene oxide: A potential quarantine and pre-shipment fumigant for disinfestation of nuts. Phytoparasitica 34, 412–419 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02981028

Download citation

Key words

  • Propylene oxide
  • nuts
  • quarantine fumigation
  • toxicity
  • Plodia interpunctella
  • sorption