Journal of Stored Products Research 55 (2013) 1e5

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Journal of Stored Products Research
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jspr

Disinfestation of stored dates using microwave energy
A. Manickavasagan a, P.M.K. Alahakoon a, T.K. Al-Busaidi a, S. Al-Adawi a, A.K. Al-Wahaibi b, A.A. Al-Raeesi b, R. Al-Yahyai b, D.S. Jayas c, *
a

Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud 123, Oman Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud 123, Oman c Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
b

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Accepted 29 May 2013 Keywords: Dates Disinfestation Microwave Phoenix dactylifera Tribolium castaneum Oryzaephilus surinamensis

a b s t r a c t
This study was conducted to determine the mortality of two common insect species in stored dates using a microwave oven operating at 2450 MHz. Adults of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.), and larvae of T. castaneum (15 days) were used to internally infest stored un-pitted dates and then subjected to microwave treatment at 180, 300, 600 or 800 W power for 20, 30 or 40 s. Complete mortality was achieved for adults of both insects and larvae of T. castaneum when the power was 800 W and the exposure time was 30 or 40 s. Mortality of T. castaneum larvae was also 100% when the power and exposure time were 600 W and 40 s, respectively. The quality attributes of the microwavetreated dates (in which 100% mortality was achieved) were compared with untreated dates. Instrumental evaluation of texture profiles revealed that microwave disinfestation did not affect hardness, adhesiveness, springiness, cohesiveness and chewiness. Microwave disinfestation did not affect the sensory attributes or the surface color of date fruits. The moisture loss during microwave treatment was between 1.0 and 1.5 percentage points. Further investigations are required to determine the capability of microwave disinfestation for packed dates and other stored product insects and life stages. Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Date fruit is an essential component of the diet in many countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa regions. It is a good source of rapid energy due to the high sugar content. It also contains dietary fiber, phenols, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, and can be consumed on a daily basis (Ali et al., 2012). In Oman, the date palm trees represent about 82% of the total cultivated fruit crops, and occupy around 49% of the total agricultural land (Al-Yahyai and Al-Khanjari, 2008). The average annual national production is around 238,000 tonnes (Al-Yahyai and AlKhanjari, 2008). Although the production in Oman is high, the annual export is less than 10,000 tonnes (Al-Rawahi et al., 2005) mainly due to the poor quality of the processed and packaged dates (Al-Marshudi, 2002). Date quality is determined based on color, size and absence of defects or damages (Ait-Oubahou and Yahia, 1999). In the international market, the standards for date qualities are: appropriate color, flavor, size, stage of ripeness, moisture

* Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: digvir_jayas@umanitoba.ca, digvir.jayas@ad.umanitoba.ca (D.S. Jayas). 0022-474X/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jspr.2013.05.005

content, freedom from insects, insect eggs, mites and absence of different types of defects (Kader and Hussein, 2009). In general, the harvested dates are usually at 60e70% moisture content (MC), and then dried to 10e25% MC before storage. The insects find the dry dates with high sugar content (around 50e60%) as a good source of food, and if infested, disinfestation is a challenge due to the physical nature of the fruit and the rate at which the insects spread into stored dates. Like other date producing countries, in Oman the infestation of stored dates is a serious problem. Al-Zadjali et al. (2006) surveyed insect attacks in date palm fields and stored dates for seven years across the country, and reported that the extent of infestation was 6.7%, 12.3%, 18.4%, 21.8% and 22.7% in the Rustaq, Musan’a, Nizwa, Dhank, and Sohar regions, respectively. Methyl bromide (MB), which is being used by many countries, is very effective for controlling insects in stored dates (AlKahtani et al., 1998). However, it is an ozone depleting substance (ODS), and several environmental agencies have been developing strategies to phase out use of this chemical. According to the Montreal Protocol, developed countries were expected to phaseout MB by 2005 and developing countries should phase-out by 2015 (El-Mohandes, 2012). Hence there is an urgent need to look for effective alternatives for the MB application in date processing. Microwave energy has been used for the disinfestation of several stored grains. Zouba et al. (2009) achieved 100% mortality

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A. Manickavasagan et al. / Journal of Stored Products Research 55 (2013) 1e5

in controlling the moth Ectomyelois ceratoniae in Tunisian dates. The disinfestation of stored wheat was accomplished by Vadivambal et al. (2007) without affecting milling and baking qualities. Vadivambal et al. (2007) also summarized other studies using microwave energy (Hurlock et al., 1979; Watters, 1976; Hamid et al., 1968). Microwave disinfestation has the advantage of selective heating in mixtures of different substances. This method does not leave any chemical residue in the food and does not have any adverse effect on the environment. Since microwave energy could penetrate into substances with water, sugar or fat molecules, there is a great potential in using microwaves to heat the inside of a date fruit more effectively than heating it from outside. The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the effect of microwave treatment on the mortality of adults of Tribolium castaneum and Oryzaephilus surinamensis, and larvae of T. castaneum in date fruits, and (2) to determine the effect of microwave treatment on the fruit quality attributes (instrumental texture, surface color and sensory characteristics) of dates. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Date samples and infestation Fardh, one of the most susceptible varieties for insect infestation, was used in this study. Dried, fumigated and cleaned date samples were obtained from a processing factory (Bright Sun Dates, Seeb, Sultanate of Oman) to ensure that the fruits were of uniform maturity, drying stage, and were free from insects prior to testing. The adults and larvae of the insects were obtained from the Entomology Lab of College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University. Each date was cut open with a dissecting blade and one live insect (adult or larvae) was inserted and closed by gentle pressing to prevent the escape of the insect. 2.2. Microwave treatment A microwave oven operating at 2450 MHz (230 V, 50 Hz, Model MW83U, Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd, Surrey, UK) with variable power levels and a turn table was used in this study. Twenty dates (10 infested and 10 un-infested) were uniformly arranged in mono layer on a circular paper plate and placed on the turn table for microwave treatment. The samples were exposed to microwave treatment at 4 power levels (180, 300, 600 or 800 W) for 3 exposure times (20, 30 or 40 s). Each treatment (power and exposure time combination) was replicated 3 times. 2.3. Mortality and quality measurement 2.3.1. Mortality After exposure to microwave radiation, the number of dead and live insects in each sample tray was counted. The criterion explained by Vadivambal et al. (2007) to confirm the dead insects was followed. After microwave treatment, the mortality was determined by opening the dates along the cut side and inspecting the insect. The insects were considered dead if they failed to respond to gentle rubbing with a small brush. The insects were checked again for mortality after the sample was cooled for 15 min. During microwave treatment, insect remained inside the dates most of the time as it was closed. The insects came out of dates a few times, and those experiments were repeated with fresh dates and insects. 2.3.2. Texture After microwave treatment, the samples were allowed to cool for 2 h at room temperature (22  C), and the texture profiles were

measured. A texture analyzer (Model TA XT2i, Stable Micro Systems, Surrey, England) was used to measure the forceetime curve using two-cycle compression test as explained by Rahman and AlFarsi (2004). A plate (diameter 7.5 cm) compressed the date sample (15 mm  15 mm) placed on a fixed table. The load cell was calibrated with a 5 kg weight. The equipment was set to zero by automatically lowering the plate until the bottom surface of plate just contacted the table before each experiment. Then the crosshead was allowed to descend at the rate of 2 mm/s to a total deformation of 3 mm (70% compression). When the compression stroke was completed, plunger abruptly reversed its direction and started upward stroke at 5 mm/s. Then a second (down and up) cycle was run on the same sample. All operations were automatically controlled by the Texture Analyzer. The compression depth was held constant at 3 mm in all experiments. The instrument automatically recorded the force e displacement or force e time curve. The experiment was replicated 3 times. The following attributes were determined from the force e time curve as explained by Rahman and Al-Farsi (2004): hardness, cohesiveness, chewiness, springiness, gumminess and adhesiveness (hardness - force to attain a given deformation; cohesiveness e degree to which sample deforms (rather than ruptures); chewiness e number of chews required masticate before swallowing; springiness e rate of return to original shape after some deformation; gumminess e being sticky and cohesive; adhesiveness e force required to remove sample from a given surface) (Prasert and Suwannaporn, 2009; Meilgaard et al., 2007a). For texture analysis, each treatment (4 microwave power  3 exposure times) was replicated 3 times. In each replication 3 dates were randomly taken for analysis. Therefore, in each treatment texture profiles of 9 dates were analyzed. 2.3.3. Temperature The surface and internal temperatures of date fruits were measured after microwave treatment. As soon as the samples were taken out from the oven, the surface temperature was measured using an infrared thermometer (non-contact, digital type meter, Model 830-T1, Testo, Lenzkirch, Germany), and the internal temperature was measured using a thermocouple type digital food thermometer (Model HI 98501, Hanna Instruments, Bedfordshire, UK). While measuring the internal temperature, the thermocouple probe was touching the internal surface of the date’s flesh (not air temperature). 2.3.4. Color Color images of the date samples were acquired before and after microwave treatment using an RGB camera (Model DSC-W320, SONY Inc., Japan) under uniform diffused light produced by two fluorescent lamps (Model OSRAM DULUX L 36W/954, OSRAM GmbH, Munchen, Germany). Red (R), green (G) and blue (B) values of the date images were extracted after implementing region-based segmentation to eliminate the background using Matlab software (Version 7.1, The Mathworks Inc., Natick, MA). 2.3.5. Moisture loss The moisture loss during microwave heating was measured for the treatments in which 100% mortality was obtained. Each treatment was replicated 3 times and from each replication 3 dates were randomly taken for moisture analysis. Therefore, 9 dates were analyzed in each treatment for moisture loss during microwave treatment. To measure the moisture content of the dates, the samples were dried in an oven (Brabender GmbH and Co, Duisburg, Germany) at 105  C for 24 h (Rahman and Al-Farsi, 2004). The weight of individual date sample was measured before microwave treatment, after microwave treatment and after oven drying, and the moisture loss during the microwave treatment was calculated.

A. Manickavasagan et al. / Journal of Stored Products Research 55 (2013) 1e5 Table 1 Percentage mortality of insects after microwave treatment (n ¼ 3). Insect Power (W) Exposure time (s) 20 Oryzaephilus surinamensis adult 180 300 600 800 180 300 600 800 180 300 600 800 4 0 57 58 0 0 27 33 0 0 83 53 Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ 6a 0 6 10 0 0 6 12 0 0 6 23 30 0 10 73 100 0 0 77 100 0 0 93 100 Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ 0 17 6 0 0 0 32 0 0 0 6 0 40 4 47 89 100 0 17 97 100 0 60 100 100 Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ 6 41 12 0 0 6 6 0 0 10 0 0

3

table of critical number of correct response in a triangle test given by Meilgaard et al. (2007b). 2.3.7. Statistical analysis The effect of insect type, microwave power and exposure time on mortality of insects was studied statistically using Statistical Analysis System software (SAS, version 8.02, SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC) by analysis of variance (ANOVA) using 3 factorial design models (3 insect types (T. castaneum adult  O. surinamensis adult  T. castaneum larvae)  4 microwave power levels (180 W  300 W  600 W  800 W) and 3 exposure times (20 s  30 s  40 s)) with general linear model (GLM) procedure. In all analyses, the differences within the levels under each variable were tested at 95% confidence interval (type I error, a ¼ 0.05) using the least significant difference (LSD) method of comparison of means. For texture analysis, each attribute was tested by a 2 factorial design model (4 microwave power levels (180 W  300 W  600 W  800 W) and 3 exposure times (20 s  30 s  40 s)) as explained above. For color, mean R, G, B values before and after microwave treatment were analyzed using Student’s t test. 3. Results and discussion At 180 W, the mortality was almost zero for both insect species (Table 1). Similarly when the applied power was 300 W, the mortality was less than 50% except for 40 s exposure. When the microwave power was increased to 800 W, and the exposure time was 30 or 40 s, 100% mortality was obtained for all species. Insect species and life stage, microwave power and exposure time affected eventual mortality. Although mortality generally increased with power or exposure time or both, mortality of T. castaneum larvae was significantly greater than T. castaneum adults. Similarly mortality of O. surinamensis adults was significantly greater than

Tribolium castaneum adult

Tribolium castaneum larvae

a

Standard deviation.

2.3.6. Sensory To determine whether the microwave treatment makes any changes to sensory attributes (overall difference), a triangle test was conducted as explained by Meilgaard et al. (2007b). The objective of this triangle test was to discover whether a perceptible difference exists between treated and untreated samples. Triangle difference test is useful in situations where treatment effects may have produced product changes that cannot be characterized simply by one or two attributes (Meilgaard et al., 2007b). This study was conducted with 40 untrained panelists (students at the Sultan Qaboos University). The samples after 24 h of microwave treatment were used for the sensory test. Three coded samples were presented to each panelist, and mentioned that two samples were identical and one was different. The panelists were asked to taste each sample, and identify the different one. The number of correct replies were counted and tested for level of significance using the
100
Adult of Oryzaephilus surinamensis

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Adult of Tribolium castaneum Larvae of Tribolium castaneum

Mortality (%)

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25000

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35000

Heat Energy (J)
Fig. 1. Variation in mortality of Oryzaephilus surinamensis and Tribolium castaneum with respect to total microwave energy.

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T. castaneum adults. There were no differences between the mortality of T. castaneum larvae and O. surinamensis adults. Heat susceptibility of different insect species and life stages have been reported by several researchers (Mahroof et al., 2003a,b; Halverson et al., 2003; Shayesteh and Barthakur, 1996; Watters, 1976; Hamid and Boulanger, 1969; Vadivambal et al., 2007) and the results are inconsistent. While testing the capability of microwave for disinfestation of wheat, Vadivambal et al. (2007) reported that the mortality of T. castaneum larvae was not the same when the MC of wheat was different (14 or 18%). It was also stated that the mortality of T. castaneum larvae was significantly greater than T. castaneum pupae and adults, which was in confirmation with the results obtained in our study. The microwave power (W) and the exposure time (s) settings were used to calculate the total energy emitted in Joules (J) (Fig. 1). In our study, the energy required for 100% mortality was about 24000 J (600 W Â 40 s ¼ 24000 J; or 800 W Â 30 s ¼ 24000 J). Vadivambal et al. (2007) reported that 100% mortality for

T. castaneum larvae and T. castaneum adults was obtained at 400 W Â 56 s (22400 J) or 500 W Â 28 s (14000 J). In our study, the insects were inserted into the dates whereas in their study, insects were freely moving in a mono layer grain bulk. This might have caused the increased energy requirement for the complete killing of insects. Based on temperature sensitivity of the product and type of insects, the microwave power and exposure time may be selected for microwave based disinfestation applications. It was observed that the internal temperature of the dates was higher than the surface temperature (Fig. 2). The internal temperature reached close to 85  C whereas the maximum surface temperature was around 65  C only, thus giving the expected outcome of killing the insects that were inside the fruit. This is explained by the behavior of microwave radiation in substances with water and especially sugar molecules (Rutgers, 1999). In our study complete mortality was achieved when the surface temperature was in the range of 45 e50  C and the internal temperature was in the range of 50 e60  C. Zouba et al. (2009) reported that exposures that led

120 100 80 60 40 20 0 20.00

Mortality (%)

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Adult of Oryzaephilus surinamensis Larvae of Tribolium castaneum Poly. (Adult of Tribolium castaneum) Adult of Tribolium castaneum Poly. (Adult of Oryzaephilus surinamensis) Poly. (Larvae of Tribolium castaneum)

a. Surface temperature
120 100 Mortality (%) 80 60 40 20 0 20.00

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Adult of Oryzaephilus surinamensis Larae of Tribolium castaneum Poly. (Adult of Tribolium castaneum) Adult of Tribolium castaneum Poly. (Adult of Oryzaephilus surinamensis) Poly. (Larae of Tribolium castaneum)

b. Internal temperature
Fig. 2. Variation in mortality of Oryzaephilus surinamensis and Tribolium castaneum with respect to surface and internal temperatures of dates.

A. Manickavasagan et al. / Journal of Stored Products Research 55 (2013) 1e5

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to surface temperatures exceeding 52  C caused complete mortality of the E. ceratoniae moth and its stages present in the date fruits. ElNagger and Mikhaiel (2011) studied the effect of temperature and exposure time during microwave disinfestation of different insect species in wheat grain and flour. It was determined that for 100% mortality of larvae, 50 C-50 s or 55 C-20 s, 50 C-50 s or 55 C30 s, 45 C-50 s or 50 C-20 s or 55 C-10 s are required for Tribolium confusum, Lasioderma serricorne (Fabricius.) and Corcyra cephalonica (Stainton), respectively. Similarly for 100% mortality of adults, 50 C-50 s or 55 C-20 s, 50 C-50 s or 55 C-30 s, 55 C-50 s, 40 C-50 s or 45 C-40 s or 50 C-20 s or 55 C-10 s are required for T. confusum, L. serricorne, R. dominica and C. cephalonica, respectively (El-Nagger and Mikhaiel, 2011). The temperature e time e power relationship established in our experiment for 100% mortality could be used to identify the most effective power and exposure time combination (low power level with long exposure or high power level with short exposure) simply by monitoring the surface temperature. The values of textural attributes of dates were in a wide range due to natural variations: hardness 23e85 N; adhesiveness À0.10 to À6.96 Nm; springiness 0.36e6.20; cohesiveness 0.13e0.63; gumminess 1.46e20.38 N; and chewiness 3.61e8.1.28 N. However, hardness, adhesiveness, springiness, cohesiveness and chewiness of date fruits did not get affected by microwave treatment. But the gumminess of the dates treated at 300, 600 and 800 W was significantly lower than the untreated and treated at 180 W dates. The other adverse effect expected from increasing the temperature was the change in color due to partial cooking of dates. The mean R, G, and B values of the date fruits were in the range of 22e32, 26e40 and 25e39, respectively. However, none of the microwave power level or exposure time made significant difference in the mean R, G and B values. Therefore our findings indicate that microwave disinfestation could be used without changing the color of dates. Out of 40 test panelists, 13 members correctly identified the treated samples. However, in a triangular test, for n ¼ 40, to be statistically different (a ¼ 0.05), the number of correct responses should be greater than or equal to 20 (Meilgaard et al., 2007a, b). Therefore, microwave treatment did not make any detectable sensory changes in date fruits. The moisture loss during microwave treatment was tested at 3 conditions where 100% mortality was achieved (600 W-40 s, 800 W30 s and 800 W-40 s). The MC of the tested date samples was in the range of 19e21% (wet basis). The moisture loss due to microwave treatment was between 0.9 and 1.4 percentage points. There were no differences in moisture loss between the three treatments. This indicates that this technique has the potential to apply heat disinfestation method with minimum moisture loss from the date fruits. Fardh date, one of the most common varieties in Oman, was disinfested using microwave energy without any adverse effect on major physical and sensory qualities. It would be possible to determine the disinfestation level by monitoring the surface temperature of the dates after exposing to microwave treatment. Further investigations to determine the mortality of other insect species and life stages during microwave treatments need to be carried out. Also research on packed dates or bulk dates would be beneficial to utilize microwave disinfestation techniques in handling, processing and storage facilities. Acknowledgment We thank The Research Council (TRC) of Sultanate of Oman for providing financial support for this study (RC/AGR/SWAE/11/01). The support from Nawal Khamis Khalfan Al-Mezeini and Neima

Hareb Abdullah Al-Shekaili for artificial infestation of dates and texture measurement in this study are acknowledged. Also authors thank Entomology Laboratory of CAMS, SQU for providing insects. References
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