Irradiation postharvest phytosanitary treatments are used increasingly and show further promise because of advantages compared with other treatments. Its chief disadvantage is that, unlike all other commercially used treatments, it does not provide acute mortality, although it prevents insects from completing development or reproducing. The objective of this research was to determine to what extent irradiated egg and early instars of tephritids would develop to later instars that could be found by phytosanitary inspectors or consumers. Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Loew), eggs and first instars in grapefruit, Citrus paradisi Macfayden, were irradiated with 70–250 Gy and held at ≈27°C until third instars completed development. The accepted minimum absorbed phytosanitary dose for this pest is 70 Gy, although higher doses may be applied under commercial conditions. The more developed a fruit fly before it was irradiated, the greater the proportion that survived to the third instar. Also, dose was inversely related to developmental success, e.g., a mean of ≈65 and 35%, respectively, of late first instars reached the third instar when irradiated with 70 and 250 Gy. Of those, 65.1 and 23.4%, respectively, pupariated, although no adults emerged. Irradiation may result in a greater frequency of live (albeit incapable of resulting in an infestation) larvae being found than would be expected compared with other treatments that provide acute mortality. The regulatory community should be aware of this and the fact that it does not increase the risk of irradiation phytosanitary treatments resulting in an infestation of quarantine pests.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3