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Changes in phosphine sorption in wheat after storage at two temperatures

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2009
Authors  Daglish, G.J; Pavic, H.
Journal Title  Pest Management Science
Volume  65
Pages  1228-1232

BACKGROUND: Wheat can be stored for many months before being fumigated with phosphine to kill insects, so a study was undertaken to investigate whether the sorptive capacity of wheat changes as it ages. Wheat was stored at 15 or 25 ◦C and 55% RH for up to 5.5 months, and samples were fumigated at intervals to determine sorption. Sealed glass flasks (95% full) were injected with 1.5mg L−1 of phosphine based on flask volume. Concentrations were monitored for 11 days beginning 2 h after injection. Some wheat samples were refumigated after a period of ventilation. Several fumigations of wheat were conducted to determine the pattern of sorption during the first 24 h.

RESULTS: Phosphine concentration declined exponentially with time from 2 h after injection. Rate of sorption decreased with time spent in storage at either 15 or 25 ◦C and 55% RH. Rate of sorption tended to be lower when wheat was refumigated, but this could be explained by time in storage rather than by refumigation per se. The data from the 24 h fumigations did not fit a simple exponential decay equation. Instead, there was a rapid decline in the first hour, with phosphine concentration falling
much more slowly thereafter.

The results have implications for phosphine fumigation of insects in stored wheat. Both the time wheat has spent in storage and the temperature atwhich it has been stored are factors that must be considered when trying to understand the impact of sorption on phosphine concentrations in commercial fumigations.

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