Phytosanitary treatment of food products and trade promotion (CRP D61026)


As commercial use of ionizing radiation as a post-harvest phytosanitary measure to overcome trade restrictions on fresh food products increases globally, IAEA launches coordinated research project to develop package of irradiation treatments generic and standard.

Food irradiation involves irradiation with gamma rays, electron beams, or x-rays at doses below 1 kGy to prevent insects from breeding and establishing themselves in new areas. This is a chemical-free way to enable trade that would otherwise be restricted due to risk-based pest controls on shipments such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Currently, 16 treatments are recognized in the phytosanitary standards of the International Plant Protection Convention. However, only one is generic (to the fruit fly family) and the others relate to specific pest species. Having more internationally accepted generic treatments, where a radiation dose is broadly applicable to a wide range of different pest species, would promote the adoption of the technology and increase the trade in irradiated fruits and vegetables.

The overall objective of the CRP is to validate the absorbed radiation doses proposed as generic treatments for nine key groups of pests (see list below) and to develop at least five generic phytosanitary radiation treatments for adoption in the International standards for phytosanitary measures from the International Plant Protection Convention. The factors likely to affect the effectiveness of the treatment will also be studied to stimulate the development of new irradiation techniques to control parasites and maintain the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables. Public and private research institutions are encouraged to apply. Participants will be encouraged to collaborate with industry and other stakeholders.


Generic pest group

  • Weevils of the family Curculionidae
  • Leaf miners of the Agromyzidae family
  • Mealybugs of the Pseudococcidae family
  • Scale insects of the Diaspididae family
  • eggs and larvae of the order Lepidoptera
  • All other regulated pests other than adult pupae and lepidoptera
  • Mites of the Tetranychidae family
  • Pupae of the order Lepidoptera
  • Mites in families other than Tetranychidae

The specific objectives of the research are:

  • Research and identify examples of the most radiation tolerant species in each of the nine groups of pests important to trade. It may be necessary to establish pest colonies in the laboratory to breed sufficient numbers of pests for research.
  • Perform tests with a large number of individuals of each of the most radiation tolerant species to confirm the minimum effective doses of ionizing radiation for each of the nine groups as a whole.
  • To study the factors that may affect the application of generic doses in order to innovate future improved treatment technologies.

How to join this CRP

Up to 10 research contracts and 5 agreements will be awarded under this coordinated research project. Please submit your research contract or agreement proposal by email, no later than November 15, 2021, to the IAEA Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the IAEA web portal. the CRA. Note that the same template can be used for both the research contract and the technical contract. For more information about this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.


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