Agro Commodities Fumigation


Red Chilli (Capsicum annuum) is used as a condiment, colorant and for food flavoring. Red color of chillies is due to Capsanthin pigment and pungency is due to Capsaicin content. Pungency, red Color and size of chilli vary between varieties. India is the major producer (about 14 lakh tonnes annual production) of chilli in the world.

Insect Pests in Chilli

Scientific Common Name
Stegobium paniceum The Drugstore beetle
Lasioderma serricorne Cigarette beetle
Tribolium castaneum Flour beetle
Rhyzopertha dominica Lesser grain borer
Ephestia cautella Tropical Warehouse moth

Insect Pests in Chilli

  • Contamination with insect fragments, excreta (uric acid), microbes and mycotoxins Quality is affected
  • Shelf-life affected (Increased moisture)
  • Affects marketability of chilli and its products

Quality Parameters for chilli and its products, India

  • Must be free from live insects
  • Uric acid content not to exceed 100 mg/kg

Quality Parameters, International (e.g. USA, DAL as per FDA)

  • In whole chillies, average of >3% pods by weight are insect infested or molded
  • In ground chillies, insect filth >50 insect fragments/25 g

Fumigation of Chilli

Fumigation of bagged chillies held under atmospheric conditions (>20°C) is recommended at the following dosage. Aluminium Phosphide tablets at 3 tablets/tonne or 2.25 g phosphine/m3, minimum 5 days (7 to 14 days depending on target pest) as per NSPM 22. Methyl bromide fumigation (pre-shipment treatments) at 32 g/m3 for 24 hr at ≥21°C.

Milled Rice

Milled rice, raw or parboiled is attacked by the following insect pests. Among them, the Rice weevil, the Lesser grain borer and the Khapra beetle are the primary pests on stored rice. Flour beetle is commonly found in milled rice.

Insect pests encountered

Scientific Common Name
Sitophilus oryzae Rice weevil
Rhyzopertha dominica Lesser grain borer
Trogoderma granarium Khapra beetles
Tribolium castaneum Red Flour beetle
Oryzaephilus surinamensis Saw-toothed grain beetle
Ephestia cautella Tropical warehouse moth
Corcyra cephalonica Rice moth

Effect Of Insect Pest On Stored Rice

Milled rice attracts a wide spectrum of pest and therefore should be the most attentively cared for commodity in storage. Surface of grain bags, wall surfaces and floor areas in warehouses sprayed with Deltamethrin at two month intervals. Along with Rodent control and regular sanitation procedures should be followed by Rice Mills.

Fumigation of milled rice

Milled raw or parboiled rice is fumigated with Aluminium phosphide tablet or pouch formulation at 3g phosphine (3 AlP tablets)/tonne) or 2.25 g phosphine/m3 for minimum 5 days (7 to 14 days depending on target pest) as per NSPM 22. Generally, for QPS treatments, methyl bromide at 32 g/m3 for 24 hr at ≥21°C is applied.


Maize is used as Food (popcorn, sweet corn, flour), Feed for livestock, poultry and serves as the basic material for the Production of starch, corn oil, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners and bio -fuel. Maize is classified as popcorn, flint corn, flour corn and sweet corn on the basis of their protein content and the hardness of the kernel. Specifications (Quality Standards) for maize in trade varies according to Food or Edible Grade and Feed Grade

Insect pests of stored Maize

Scientific Common Name
Sitophilus oryzae The Rice Weevil
Rhyzopertha dominica The Lesser Grain Borer
Oryzaephilus surinamensis Saw-toothed Grain Beetle
Tribolium castaneum The rust-red Flour beetle
Sitotroga cerealella The Angoumois grain moth
Ephestia cautella Almond moth

Maize Quality- Safety Parameters

  • Aflatoxin content
  • Uric acid level
  • Microbial load
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Poisonous/Heavy metals

Fumigation of Maize/Corn

Maize is fumigated with Aluminium phosphide tablets at the rate of 3 tablets/tonne or 2.25 g phosphine/m3, minimum 5 days (7 to 14 days depending on target pest) as per NSPM 22. Maize intended for Malaysia has to be fumigated with aluminium phosphide formulations at 5 g phosphine/m3 for 5 days as pre-shipment treatment (target pest Trogoderma granarium, Khapra larvae). Recommended pre-shipment dosage for Iran is 2 g phosphine/m3 for 7 days (target pest Araecerus fasciculatus, Coffee bean weevil). For all other QPS treatments Methyl bromide at 32 g/m3, 24 hr exposure at ≥21° C is applied.


Fumigation services carry out fumigation of tobacco both in warehouse and in containers as per the international buyer's requirements. The fumigation safety procedures of Fumigation services are regularly being audited by reputed tobacco buyers from abroad. Phosphine gas monitoring and effective sealing procedures have facilitated Fumigation services to achieve excellent results. The major types of Tobacco in India are Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) ,Burley and Oriental And Sun cured Country Tobacco

Insect pests encountered

Cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne is the only pest of tobacco in storage and production facilities. Tobacco products are holed by larvae as well as adults and contaminated with cocoons, dead insects and frass leading to consumer complaints Under favorable conditions up to 7 generations could be completed in a year

  • Avoid light during daytime
  • Very active during sunset
  • Attracted to artificial light (black/UV light)
  • Can fly up to 3 km (hence cross contaminate fresh products)
  • Can tolerate up to 4 % nicotine content in tobacco
  • Survives best on high sugar / low nicotine tobacco (FVC and Oriental tobacco are at high risk)

Tobacco is fumigated with Aluminium phosphide formulations at various stages

  • Fumigation upon arrival in the warehouse (Receipt fumigation)
  • Fumigation during storage period
  • Pre-shipment fumigation
  • Fumigation at the port before on-board
  • Export tobacco can be fumigated with magnesium phosphide plates (that releases phosphine quickly and completely irrespective of low r.h. or temperature conditions)
  • Ephestia cautella, Almond moth

Groundnut or Peanuts

India is the second largest producer of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea); annual production of groundnuts (unshelled) exceeds 7 million tons. Gujarat is the largest producer in the country. There are 2 main groundnut varieties i.e., Java (smaller size) and Bold (bigger size) Domestic or international trade is undertaken as per the size (counts per ounce) of the groundnuts. Bigger the size, lower the count and higher the price. Handpicked and selected (HPS) groundnuts have large potential in domestic and international markets.

Groundnuts are subject to quality losses during storage through insect/rodent infestation, fungal development, flavor changes, rancidity, physical changes like shrinkage, weight loss, etc. High moisture and temperature promote deterioration of kernels in storage.

Insect pests of stored Maize

Scientific Common Name
Ephestia cautella Almond moth
Oryzaephilus surinamensis Saw-toothed grain beetle
Tribolium castaneum Red flour beetle
Lasioderma serricorne Cigarette beetle
Necrobia rufipes Red-legged Ham beetle
Corcyra cephalonica Rice moth

Fumigation of Groundnuts or Peanuts

Fumigation with Aluminium phosphide formulations at 3 g phosphine/tonne or 2.25 g phosphine/m3 for 5 days minimum, 7 to 14 days depending on target pest. Recommended pre-shipment treatment for peanuts for Vietnam is 4 g phosphine/m3 for 10 days (target pests Khapra larvae Trogoderma granarium, and groundnut bruchid, Caryedon serratus . For QPS uses, methyl bromide at 32 g/m3 for 24 hr at ≥21°C is used.

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