Fumigation is important in reducing food waste.  Weevils, moths and borer beetles live in a very comfortable environment when in the middle of a silo or warehouse fill with grains, where they perforate the external layer of the stored products, feed freely, and have an ideal temperature and enough oxygen to grow and breed.

This insects, alongside some fungi, bacteria and viruses, cause annual loses of between four and ten percent of all the stored grains worldwide, mainly corn, wheat, sorghum, rice and beans.

The main fumigation technique and pest control inside warehouses and silos has been the use of chemical substances such as aluminum phosphide and methyl bromide, which are effective but leave a toxic residue for human consumption.

Credit: Investigación y Desarrollo

A substance present in nature, ozone, turned out to be just as effective as other chemical compounds to eradicate harmful organisms in stored grains, without negative effects. Agro a Mexican enterprise that operates silos and warehouses, located in Sinaloa (Northwest Mexico), created a new technology of effective fumigation that solely uses ozone.  The ozone system ventilates the grains for 48 hours and removes the 'comfort zone of' the insects, making them unable to breathe and modifying the internal atmosphere of the room.

Using this technique, pest free grains have obtained during the entire purchase, sale and storage cycle. The effectiveness of this technology meets the Official Mexican Standard (NOM). The company will soon be able to export their ozone fumigation system to Canada. In Mexico, companies with large grain and flour warehouses already use it.