Performance of triple bagging hermetic technology for postharvest storage of cowpea grain in Niger
KAUST DepartmentComputational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC)
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AbstractTriple bagging technology for protecting postharvest cowpea grain from losses to the bruchid, Callosobruchus maculatus Fabricius (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae) is currently being adopted on a fairly large scale in ten West and Central African countries, including Niger. The triple bag consists of two inner high-density polyethylene bags acting as oxygen barriers, which in turn are encased in an outer woven polypropylene bag that serves primarily for mechanical strength. These hermetic bags, available in either 50 or 100 kg capacity, are called Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags. Adoption of PICS technology in West and Central Africa has been driven by its effectiveness, simplicity, low cost, durability, and manufacture within the region. From surveys on adoption we discovered that farmers have begun to re-use bags they had used the previous year or even the previous two years. In the present study, we compared the performance of three different types of PICS bags: (1) new 50 kg (2) new 100 kg bags and (3) once-used 50 kg bags, all filled with naturally infested untreated cowpeas. In these PICS bags the O 2 levels within the bags initially fell to about 3 percent (v/v) while the CO 2 rose to nearly 5 percent (v/v). After five months of storage, new and used 50 kg bags and new 100 kg bags preserved the grain equally well. There were greatly reduced numbers of adults and larvae in the PICS bags versus the controls, which consisted of grain stored in single layer woven bags. The proportion of grain having C. maculatus emergence holes after five months of storage in PICS bags was little changed from that found when the grain was first put into the bags. The PICS technology is practical and useful in Sahelian conditions and can contribute to improved farmers' incomes as well as increase availability of high quality, insecticide-free cowpea grain as food. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.