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New Zealand Plant Protection 68 (2015): 348-352

High-pressure-washing to manage insect infestations on capsicums

N.E.M. Page-Weir, L.E. Jamieson, S.P. Redpath, M.J. Griffin, S.R. Olsson, A. Chhagan, P. Biswas and A.B. Woolf


Pests on capsicum fruit can cause market access issues resulting in costly methyl bromide fumigation. High pressure washing (HPW) removes insects and other surface contaminants and has been commercialised for capsicums. This paper reports on performance of a commercial HPW system and compares it to an experimental HPW system that the commercial system was based on. The experimental high-pressure washing system operated at 75 or 100 psi (517 or 689 kPa, respectively) resulted in complete removal of aphids on capsicum fruit. The commercial washer at the same pressures removed 98.1-98.9% of aphids resulting in 85-95% clean fruit. HPW treatment increased incidence of soft rot and stem blackening with higher rot blackening at 100 psi. These results indicate the potential of HPW to be included as a mitigation measure in a systems approach to improve market access for capsicum. However, further optimisation in a commercial setting and evidence for efficacy against other pests of capsicum, such as tomato potato psyllid is required.

Keywords: disinfestation, insect removal, washing, waterblasting, aphids, pests, systems approach.

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