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The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed an economically viable method to organically manage storage insect-pests of pulses, packed in Low Density Polyethylene used by the retailers. A team of four scientists comprising Dr Manpreet Kaur Saini, Dr MS Alam, Dr Surekha Bhatia and Dr Anjali Sidhu from the Department of Processing and Food Engineering, have developed a “PAU Protection Kit for Stored Pulses.” It is a comprehensive kit including a vial with an organic solution, along with strips and an easy application procedure, providing an effective and user-friendly solution for retailers and households.

Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, lauded the Department of Processing and Food Engineering for developing a cost-effective, organic, and user-friendly protection kit to combat storage losses in packed pulses. The application cost is approximately Rs 5 per packet, making it an affordable and accessible solution for retailers, he told.

Dr Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Director of Research, observed, “Protecting the stored pulses from insect-pest infestation is a big challenge at the end of retailers and at household level. Spoilage of stored pulses through insect infestations is a common occurrence in humid and rainy months.” He congratulated the scientists for coming up with a simple solution to a widespread problem of small pack storage of food grains and pulses.

Dr Khushdeep Dharni, Associate Director, Technology Marketing and IPR Cell, said that the technology provided an appropriate solution and carried considerable commercialization potential. “The solution is non-toxic, user-friendly and convenient to use. It ensures the safe storage of pulses for a period of six months effectively with a one year shelf life of organic solution. Further, the application does not demand any additional equipment,” he added.

Dr Saini, Dr Alam, Dr Bhatia and Dr Sidhu explained, “During storage, pulses are prone to damage due to insects notably pulse beetle and lesser grain borer, leading to both qualitative and quantitative losses. Globally, pest control measures in stored grains rely on the use of chemical insecticides and fumigants, often causing concerns about insecticide residues in grains and the development of insect resistance. During the packaging and distribution process, the sellers suffer losses due to insect attack in the retail packed pulses, resulting in monetary loss.” The adoption of the developed kit on a commercial scale offers a promising solution to mitigate these challenges, they said.

“The organic solution used for fumigant application is officially recognized as safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is exempted from residue tolerance limit requirements for all raw agricultural commodities. This guarantees an environmentally friendly and human-safe organic solution, eliminating any worries about pesticide residues,” they added.

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