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K-State Today

May 24, 2024

Grain science and industry researchers receive USDA funding for chlorine dioxide research

Submitted by Jordan Tilley

Bhadriraju Subramanyam "Subi," university distinguished professor, Kaliramesh Siliveru, associate professor, and E. Xinyi, formerly a postdoctoral research associate in Subi's laboratory, and now a professor of practice in the department of biological and agricultural engineering, received $486,000 from USDA-NIFA funding under the Methyl Bromide Transitions program for their proposal, "Evaluation of chlorine dioxide for managing insects and pathogens associated with wheat flour mills, wheat, and flour."

In this three-year project, the researchers will examine effectiveness of gaseous chlorine dioxide against stored-product insects and microorganisms on food-contact surfaces in flour mills. In addition, aqueous chlorine dioxide will be used to temper wheat prior to milling to determine reduction in microbes on wheat and in flour. This is Subi's fifth Methyl Bromide Transitions grant. The proposed work is an extension of Subi's project supported by the Australian government between 2012 and 2018 of more than $500,000 under the Cooperative Research Centre Plant Biosecurity consortium to explore alternatives like chlorine dioxide for controlling stored-product insects resistant to the fumigant phosphine, a major issue for the Australian grain industry.

Phosphine resistance in stored-product insects is a worldwide issue, including the United States. The researchers showed that chlorine dioxide gas can control phosphine resistant insects, and this research could not have been successful without the donation of a 40-foot trailer by PureLine, Bensenville, Illinois, that generates chlorine dioxide gas electrochemically. The trailer currently sits between the Hal Ross Flour Mill and O. H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center on the Grain Science and Industry Complex.