Durable stored products: beans and grains.
Photo: C. Adler

03.04.2013

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Preventive methods are the most effective tools to protect stored products. This article shows under what conditions and how stored products are infested and what is new in research and development.

Any plant or agricultural product we produce for human consumption or animal feed will sooner or later be stored in a more or less processed state to be consumed or further processed to a final product. Depending on the water content, we can distinguish perishable products such as fruits or vegetables with a higher moisture content from durables such as grains, pulses, nuts, dried fruits or dried herbs and spices with a low moisture content. Often, the protection of perishables is summarised as post-harvest protection, while the protection of durables is called stored product protection. Usually, products of a higher water content are attacked by fungi and bacteria through a damaged cuticle, such as a cracked tomato skin. Infested plants, stems, roots or fruits should be separated and discarded before the microbial infestation spreads to other products. Perishables may also just lose water and start to shrivel up, or they may start to sprout, as in the case of potatoes.

What are stored product pests?

In durable products, the main pests are insects.

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