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Commercial trials evaluating the novel use of ethyl formate for in-transit fumigation of shipping containers

Coetzee, E.M., Newman, J., Coupland, G.T., Thomas, M., van der Merwe, J., Ren, Y.L. and McKirdy, S.J. (2019) Commercial trials evaluating the novel use of ethyl formate for in-transit fumigation of shipping containers. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B . In Press.

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The use of shipping containers for cargo transportation has the potential to transport insect pests from infested to non-infested areas. Therefore, fumigation is required as an appropriate biosecurity measure to exterminate these pests. In-transit fumigation trials were conducted in two 20 ft shipping containers during a two-day journey in both September and December 2017. Ethyl formate (90 g m−3) was purged with nitrogen (EF + N2) into the containers. Ethyl formate concentration inside containers and the surrounding environment were monitored at timed intervals throughout the journey. Fumigation achieved sufficient concentration × time (Ct) products in the containers during the journey, which can exterminate all stages of most common insect pests. The Ct products in-transit were greater than those in a shipping container being fumigated in a stationary position at a dose rate of 90 g m-³ for 24 hours exposure. Levels of EF in the environment between 1-15 m downwind from the containers and driver’s cabin were less than 0.5 ppm at each of the timed intervals, 200 times below 100 ppm of EF Threshold Limit Value (TLV). Our study indicates that in-transit EF + N2 technology has the potential to deliver cost savings in the fumigation process through reduction of the Labor cost, elimination of the time a container and cargo must remain stationary in a fumigation yard and a significant decrease in total supply chain time (between container packing and receival).

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Inc.
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