Contacts: Mike Hennessey
National Science Director
CPHST Miami Lab
The CPHST Miami Lab provides leadership in treatment technology and evaluates phytosanitary treatment efficacy and technology, certifies and audits treatment facilities, and develops treatment data systems.
Commodity Treatment Information System
The Commodity Treatment Information System is a secure, online web-enabled data system that collects, stores, and creates reports from phytosanitary treatments and provides regulatory information.
Development of International Standards for Phytosanitary Treatments.
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international treaty of member nations whose purpose is to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products and to promote appropriate measures for their control. Scientists with CPHST are participating in the development of a compendium to the IPPC standard entitled “Phytosanitary Treatments for Regulated Pests,” which will contain all phytosanitary treatments that have been approved by the IPPC. CPHST submitted fourteen irradiation treatments proposed by the United States, including a generic dose of 150 Gy to be used for neutralization of all fruit flies in the family Tephritidae, for member consultation under the fast-track standard setting process. Furthermore, a 100 Gy irradiation treatment for Mediterranean fruit fly was recently approved by the IPPC Technical Panel on Phytosanitary Treatments and will be forwarded to the Standards Committee for further consideration. CPHST will submit a generic dose of 400 Gy for all insects excluding lepidopteran pupae and adults during the next call for treatments. Approval of these proposals will serve to harmonize treatments and facilitate international trade.
Development of Technology for Remote Monitoring and Tracking of Quarantine Treatments
Scientists with the Treatment Quality Assurance Unit (TQAU) are developing the Commodity Treatment Information System (CTIS), a system capable of collecting, analyzing, and reporting data from quarantine treatments performed at remote locations, including ships at sea. The CTIS integrates specialized data recording and transmission equipment, satellite communications, and advanced software architecture to allow APHIS staff to track treatments in real time. These systems will track cold, irradiation, hot water, vapor heat, and hot air treatments. The Irradiation Reporting and Accountability Database (IRADS), a component of the CTIS, allows APHIS to electronically audit irradiation treatments; track commodities based on grower, packer, treatment, and shipment information; and automatically produce summary reports.
Irradiation as a Phytosanitary Treatment
The Treatment Quality Assurance Unit (TQAU) has been key in the development of policies and procedures to develop the use of ionizing irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment. TQAU has worked closely with ASTM International, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the irradiation industry to create the regulatory and technical infrastructure necessary to support irradiation treatments. In addition, TQAU staff have been instrumental in implementing new irradiation preclearance programs in Thailand, India, Viet Nam, and Mexico, serving as facility certification specialists and providing technical support. In the near future, the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment is expected to increase as methyl bromide is phased out.
Technical Support for Quarantine Treatments
The Treatment Quality Assurance Unit (TQAU) provides technical treatment expertise and support for domestic and foreign PPQ programs. This support falls into several broad categories: treatment review and development, facility certification, and treatment audits / failure analysis. Treatment review and development focuses on developing new treatment solutions for emerging pests and new commodities imported into the United States. Along with this development work, TQAU continually reviews treatments already in use to verify efficacy. TQAU staff work closely with PPQ domestic and preclearance programs to certify treatment facilities. These may include Niger seed, fumigation, hot air, hot water, cold treatment, and irradiation facilities. After facilities are certified, TQAU continues to monitor treatments using onsite audits and inspections and electronic audits. These quality assurance activities are done on a periodically or when problems occur with treatments. Failure analysis is a critical function of TQAU and the information gained from these analyses can be critical in treatment development and modification. TQAU performs this work as a support function of PPQ as an independent audit group.
Fruit fly Treatments
Cold Treatment. Schedules for cold treatments were developed eight decades ago. Recently, their effectiveness was questioned after treatment failures associated with Spanish clementine imports. CPHST is working cooperatively with scientists in South Africa, Argentina and Kenya to develop new schedules for different commodity-species combinations. There is special interest in developing new schedules for highly invasive fruit flies like Bactrocera invadens.
Trace Element Analysis
CPHST assists in conducting trace element analysis of commodities, especially fruits and vegetables, to determine country of origin. Through chemical analysis, we are able to identify commodities, pests, noxious weeds, diseases, and pathogens. These methods are currently in developmental stages. CPHST reports routine results to the PPQ-EDP-Environmental Monitoring Team (EMT), which prepares reports for stakeholders. Results of non-routine sample analysis are reported directly to program contacts.
The CPHST Otis Lab, with cooperation from a Swiss chemical manufacturer and University of Milan, is evaluating various formulations of molluscicides on invasive snail species of concern in the field in Italy. Work continues in the laboratory on efficacy of sulfuryl fluoride against invasive snail species with the hope of replacing methyl bromide for treatment of imported ceramic tile.
Phosphine Fumigation Treatments
The CPHST Otis Lab developed methodology to accurately measure phosphine (PH3) concentrations by gas chromatography in small-scale fumigations conducted in a controlled laboratory setting. CPHST initiated small-scale fumigations to evaluate the efficacy of low temperature PH3 fumigation on various insects. Preliminary work focused on the egg stages of gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, Copitarsia spp. and light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana. Current and future work on this project will support the development of fumigation schedules for imported fresh fruit and produce.
Treatments for Emerald Ash Borer
CPHST continues research to determine the thermo tolerance of emerald ash borer larvae, Agrilus planipennis, in firewood. CPHST, PPQ, and the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory are developing a program to train PPQ officers to conduct certifications of commercial heat treatment facilities to treat firewood in emerald ash borer and gypsy moth quarantine areas.
Development of Treatment for Wood Infested with Sirex noctilio
Scientists at the CPHST Otis Lab are in the process of conducting studies on Sirex infested softwood to determine survivability of larvae. Due to the volume and risk of fuel chips leaving New York State for co-generation plant in Vermont and in out -of-state landscaping practices, the lab is studying Sirex infested softwood to determine the survivability of larvae after the wood is chipped. A chemical pressure treatment of Sirex infested Scots pine is being conducted to determine survivability of larvae post treatment in cooperation with the log home industry in New York State to mitigate potential movement of Sirex in log home kits sold outside of New York. Conventional heat treatment of Sirex larvae in softwood will confirm whether the universal heat treatment standard of 56°C / 30 minutes is effective on Sirex in wood. Radiofrequency treatment of Sirex larvae in round wood will determine a suitable treatment schedule for Sirex in round sections of softwood.
Light Brown Apple Moth Treatments
CPHST, in cooperation with researchers in Australia at the South Australian Research and Development Institute, initiated work to develop novel insecticide treatments for light brown apple moth (LBAM) on nursery stock. The goal of this project is to identify alternatives to the current treatments that are equally effective and less acutely toxic. Work to date has shown promising results for treatments using foliar applied oils, insect growth regulators and some newer “softer” synthetic organic insecticides. An LBAM culture is established in the Otis quarantine facility to allow complementary laboratory studies to be conducted.