Rapid Mortality of Pest Arthropods by Direct Exposure to a Dielectric Barrier Discharge

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Title: Rapid Mortality of Pest Arthropods by Direct Exposure to a Dielectric Barrier Discharge
Author: Bures, Brian Lee
Advisors: M. A. Bourham, Committee Chair
M. A. Haider, Committee Member
J. G. Gilligan, Committee Member
R. M. Roe, Committee Member
Abstract: The spread of arthropods due to trade of agricultural commodities and travel of humans is a significant problem in many countries. Limiting the movement of pest species is commonly achieved by the use of chemical pesticides at quarantine facilities. One potential alternative to chemical pesticides is direct exposure of contaminated commodities to ambient pressure electrical discharges. The arthropods are directly exposed to a 5.0 cm helium discharge with power densities on the order of 60 mW/cm3. Direct measurement of chemical species and ambient gas temperature shows the DBD treatment remains effective when the chemically reactive species are suppressed by helium, and when the ambient gas temperature of the discharge is below 40 °C. In addition to gas temperature measurements and chemical species identification, the electron temperature and electron density were measured using the neutral bremsstrahlung continuum technique. This study is the first successful implementation of the neutral bremsstrahlung continuum emission diagnostic to a barrier discharge. The primary advantages of the diagnostic for barrier discharges are the measurement is passive and the spatial resolution is only limited by the collimation of the light and the sensitivity of the detector. Although the electron temperature (1.0-1.5 eV) and electron density (~108 cm-3) are modest, non-chemical dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) treatment of arthropods has proven effective in significantly reducing the population of some arthropods including human body lice, green peach aphids, and western flower thrips. However, the treatment was not universally effective on all arthropod species. German cockroaches and citrus mealy bugs showed substantial resistance to the treatment. The study has shown the treatment does not always induce instant mortality: however, the mortality increases over a 24 hr-period after treatment. Based upon visual observation and the time after treatment to reach maximum mortality, the mode of action is either direct damage to the nervous system or changes to the hydrocarbon layer that protects the arthropods from dehydration.
Date: 2004-11-10
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Nuclear Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5917

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