The objective of this research was to investigate whether a controlled atmosphere established inside a high temperature forced air chamber could enhance the mortality of the most heat-resistant life stage of Mexican fruit fly larvae (Anastrepha ludens Loew) and thereby reduce the amount of time grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) harvested from Mexican fruit fly-infested regions must be exposed to high-temperature forced air to achieve quarantine security. The mortality of third instar larvae treated on diet was significantly higher after exposure to 1% oxygen or 1% oxygen enriched with 20% carbon dioxide than it was in either air or air enriched with 20% oxygen. Reducing the amount of oxygen in air from 21% to 1% during forced air heating at 46°C, reduced the exposure time required for 100% kill of larvae inside artificially infested grapefruit from 5 hours to 3.5 hours. Inconsistent fruit quality results warrant further study to optimize controlled atmosphere conditions during heating. Based upon relative levels of carbon dioxide inside the grapefruit during heating, fruit respiration during heating in 1% oxygen was lower than during heating in air. Results from this research suggest that reducing the amount of oxygen in a high temperature forced air chamber during heating can reduce the amount of time fruit must be exposed to heat for quarantine security against Mexican fruit fly.
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