Methyl bromide is being phased out for use on stored commodities, as it is listed as an ozone-depleting substance, and phosphine is the fumigant widely used on grains. However, phosphine resistance occurs worldwide, and phosphine fumigation requires a long exposure period and temperatures of >15 °C. There is an urgent requirement for the development of a fumigant that kills insects quickly and for phosphine resistance management. This paper reports on a new fumigant formulation of 95% ethyl formate plus 5% methyl isothiocyanate as an alternative fumigant for stored grains. The formulation is stable for at least 4 months of storage at 45 °C. A laboratory bioassay with the formulation showed that it controlled all stages of Sitophilus oryzae (L.), Sitophilus granarius (L.), Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), Rhyzopertha dominica (F.), Trogoderma variabile Ballion and Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius) in infested wheat, barley, oats and peas at 80 mg L(-1) for 5 days, and in canola at both 40 mg L(-1) for 5 days and 80 mg L(-1) for 2 days at 25±2 °C. After an 8-14 day holding period, residues of ethyl formate and methyl isothiocyanate in wheat, barley, peas and canola were below the experimental permit levels of 1.0 and 0.1 mg kg(-1). However, fumigated oats needed an 18 day holding period. The findings suggest that the ethyl formate plus methyl isothiocyanate formulation has potential as a fumigant for the control of stored-grain insect pests in various commodities.
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