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Efficacy of a postharvest treatment aiming at eradication of all developmental stages of Tecia solanivora in ware potatoes

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The European Commission requested the EFSA Panel on Plant Health to prepare and deliver a scientific opinion on the efficacy of a postharvest treatment aiming to eradicate all developmental stages of Guatemalan potato tuber moth Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in ware potatoes. The Panel evaluated the scientific publication describing the elevated CO2 treatment, which was defined as: 10‐day exposure to 30% CO2, 20% O2 and 50% N2 in controlled atmosphere at 17°C on the variety Negra Yema de Huevo (Papas Antiguas de Canarias, PDO potatoes, Solanum chaucha). In the scientific publication, the treatment was applied under semi‐commercial and commercial conditions on artificially and field‐infested tubers. The effect of the pest developmental stage on the treatment efficacy was investigated with artificial infestation of potato tubers with eggs, neonate and second instar larvae. Pupae and adults were placed in separate containers during the treatment. However, the third and fourth larval instars were not investigated. Further limitations were the sample size in the experiments, the mortality rate in the control group and the unknown level of infestation of the naturally infested potato tubers. It was not possible to evaluate the degree of pest freedom due to incomplete data on the conditions of production, i.e. the infestation level in the field. The Panel was able to conclude that although no surviving insects were observed in the performed experiments, the statistical evaluation of the presented results from the commercial trial indicate that it cannot be excluded that insects would survive the treatment. For example, based on the data provided the 95% confidence interval of the survival rate for eggs was: 0%–0.453%.

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