In developing countries, losses of stored grains due to insect pests are significant. Modified atmosphere (MA) storage is one of the strategies to minimize impact of the pests. This work aimed to identify a biomass material for generating smoke having high concentrations of CO and CO2 to create a MA in stored grains. Smokes from seven biomass were characterized in terms of CO, CO2, NO and O2 composition. Results showed that smoke from dried maize stalk (MS) was superior in terms of generation of high concentrations of CO (>2% vol) and CO2 (>11% vol) with relatively less NO (< 70 ppm vol) but high rate of O2 (< 11% per volume) depletion. MS is also easily available in farms with no cost; its smoke imparts less smell and flavor on grains and critically avoids deforestation unlike use of other biomasses. Therefore, it could serve as a medium for modifying stored grain atmosphere through accumulation of high concentration CO and CO2. Furthermore, during infusion, it expels ambient air from interstellar space of grains to modify storage environment. An efficient smoke infusion device and hermetic storage structure are required to benefit from created MA against grain insect pests.
Key words: Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, modified atmosphere, smoke, storage pest.
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