Microorganisms and insects are the main enemies of the stored grains. Currently the food industry uses fumigants to destroy them. However, these compounds, which evaporate or decompose into gases in air or water, pose a threat to human health and the environment.
“When grain is fumigated, a small amount of gas is absorbed by the grain and released into the atmosphere. When food is irradiated, the treatment is physical. When” new molecules “are created they are no different from those produced by normal methods are generated to foods like heat, “says Professor Monique Lacroix.
Food irradiation refers to the exposure of food to ionizing radiation, including gamma rays and X-rays. The research team has determined the effectiveness of these two processes with and without essential oils.
Increase in radiation sensitivity
The aim of the study was to test whether the energy level of the variable flow rate irradiation source can affect the dose (or treatment time) required to kill 90% of insects or molds. The research team showed that gamma rays are more effective against insects than X-rays. In addition, a higher dose rate with gamma rays was found to be more effective than a lower dose rate.
In addition, adding eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils significantly improved its effectiveness. “With the addition of essential oils, the required dose was four to six times lower, depending on the gamma dose rate. In fact, oils increase the sensitivity of insects to radiation,” says Professor Lacroix.
Similar results can be observed for bacteria and mold, although they are more resistant to radiation. An earlier study found that adding thyme and oregano essential oils increased the sensitivity of microorganisms to radiation by 1.5 times.
The team also conducted experiments on essential oil vapors that had diffused in 5 kg bags of rice. In the future, the team would like to test the process in an industrial environment through partnership with companies.
About the study
The article “Radiosensitization of the rice beetle Sitophilus oryzae using combined treatments of essential oils and ionizing radiation with gamma radiation and X-rays at different dose rates” by Farah Hossain |, Peter Follet, Shiv Shankar, Tofa Begum, Stephane Salmieri and Monique Lacroixwas published in the journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry. The study received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Department of Business and Innovation, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
INRS is a university devoted exclusively to university-level research and education. Since its inception in 1969, INRS has played an active role in Quebecs economic, social and cultural development and comes first for research intensity in Quebec and in Canada. INRS consists of four interdisciplinary research and training centers in Quebec, Montreal, Laval, and Varennes, with expertise in strategic areas: Water Earth Environment, Energy Material Telecommunications, Urbanization Culture Society and Armand-Frappier Health Biotechnology. The INRS community includes more than 1,500 students, postdocs, faculty members, and staff.
SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)
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