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Studies of non-chemical strategies for postharvest management of Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)

Al-Behadili, Farhan Jasim Mohammed (2020) Studies of non-chemical strategies for postharvest management of Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata). PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Embargoed until March 2022.


The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Medfly), is a highly polyphagous insect species with a host range of over 400 plant species. It is one of the most destructive horticultural insect pests which has resulted in huge pre and postharvest losses, costing billions of dollars every year for pest management. Quarantine and phytosanitary treatments are essential to ensure no live Medfly in imported and exported fruit, vegetable and hay. However, it is increasingly difficult to be clarified due to the ban of key pesticides, methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance, and chemical residues related food and consumer safety issues. Therefore, the non-chemical strategies, including the controlled atmosphere (CA), heat and low temperature and irradiation treatments have been applied for eradication of fruit flies in postharvest fruits. However, the response of Medfly to low-temperature and low-oxygen has not been extensively studied in the lab diet and blueberries.

My Ph.D. research has systematically evaluated low-temperature and low-oxygen treatments of Medfly on a lab diet and two blueberry cultivars. The results demonstrated that in the lab diet, both the 1st and 3rd larval instars were the most cold-tolerant stages. In blueberries, the 3rd larval instar was the most cold-tolerant stage. In the low-oxygen/high-nitrogen treatment, the 3rd larval instar was the most tolerant stage at 25°C. No significant differences in sex ratios of survived Medfly were observed between treated and non-treated Medfly populations after both low-temperature and low-oxygen treatments.

This study improved our understanding of Medfly responses to low-temperature and low-oxygen treatments. The results and knowledge will help refine current fruit fly postharvest management and develop more efficient and environmentally friendly control approaches, which will contribute to the integrated postharvest pest management strategies for Medfly.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Agricultural Sciences
Supervisor(s): Xu, Wei, Ren, Yonglin and Agarwal, Manjree
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