Go to top of page

Primary tabs

Protecting stored grains against pests

This project will assess synthetic silica products' ability to protect stored foods in developing countries.
The Plant Biosecurity CRC (PBCRC) discovered in 2013/14 that selected synthetic silica products used in the food industry are better than commercial silica-based agricultural products for controlling insect pests of stored grains.
PBCRC filed an international application (PCT / AU2015/050110) to protect the intellectual property of this discovery. PBCRC is developing a new synthetic silica product to control insect pests when mixed with agricultural commodities and as a structural / barrier product when applied to surfaces of structures used to store bulk commodities.
Traditionally, inert dusts are used to control insect pests of field crops and stored products. Inert dusts are categorized into four groups for stored product protection:
- Clays, sand, paddy husk ash and wood ash
- Minerals such as dolomite, lime and limestone
- Synthetic silica materials, and
- Natural silica, usually diatomaceous earth derivatives or zeolites.
They are less effective and slower than chemicals, need high dosages and different applications based on insect species, life stage and commodity moisture levels.
The pilot activity will compare efficacy of the new synthetic silica product against traditional methods that use inert dusts in:
1. Timor Leste: threshed mung beans and corn stored in the cob
2. Tanzania: corn stored in the cob
The testing is a first phase and, in consultation with participating countries, is intended as a pilot activity.
The research will produce a report that advises where the technology may be applicable, identifies any issues or limitations, and identifies further research needs.