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Fruit laboratory in South Africa

South African fruit growers and exporters have opened a laboratory at the Stellenbosch University’s experimental farm in the Western Cape Province to carry out analyses previously conducted by private laboratories and to ensure compliance with international regulations on insects and pests. The Hortgro Phytosanitary Laboratory (PHYLA), built at a cost of US$367,000 and the first of its kind in the country, has four cold rooms, one fumigation room, various laboratories for fruit research and quality control, and several colonies of insects and mites known to attack fruits. The priority is research on post-harvest phytosanitary treatments that ensure pathogen-free export. One of the studies will evaluate alternative fumigation methods associated with cold storage as part of efforts to manage the grain chinch bug (Macchiademus diplopterus), which attacks wheat and is sometimes found inside fruit packaging. South Africa exports wine, grapes, citrus fruits, nuts, apples, pears, and avocados (Science, May 30; The Conversation, March 3).