Triple bag hermetic storage delivers a lethal punch to Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) in stored maize
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Clean shelled maize was stored in woven polypropylene (PP) or triple layer polyethylene (PICS™) bags in the presence of Prostephanus truncatus Horn (PP1; PICS1) or absence of it (PP0; PICS0) at ambient conditions for six months. Moisture content, live insect population, grain damage, weight loss, and germination were analyzed on a monthly basis. Temperature and relative humidity in both PICS- and PP-bag setups were monitored, as well as the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the PICS bags. Overall, maize stored in PICS bags had significantly lower (P < 0.05) moisture content than maize stored in PP bags. Storage in PICS bag slowed growth of P. truncatus populations and blocked infestation from the surrounding storage environment. On the contrary, PP bags permitted profuse build-up of insect population and cross-infestation. At six months, grain damage was 0.0%, 3.4%, 50.5% and 73.9%, corresponding to weight loss of 0.0%, 2.0%, 36.3%, and 47.7% in PICS0, PICS1, PP0 and PP1, respectively. Germination of maize stored in PP bags dropped from 91.1% to 37.0% and 12.7% in PP0 and PP1, respectively, whereas germination of maize stored in PICS bags dropped only marginally and reached 78.1% and 71.0% in PICS0 and PICS1, respectively, in six months. Without extreme loss of grain viability, a huge decrease in insect infestation, grain damage and weight loss is achieved by storing maize in PICS bag even under P. truncatus endemic conditions.