Animal pests in stored agri-food products and their management
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Acquire knowledge on the major animal pests (invertebrates and vertebrates) in stored agri-food products; learn pest prevention and monitoring methods as well as integrated and sustainable pest control strategies; be able to implement the knowledge and techniques acquired, in relation to specific circumstances.
1. Knowledge and understanding: through lessons, practical exercises and visits to companies, students will be able to learn the characteristics of the main pests of the agri-foodstuffs and the damage they cause; prevention and monitoring techniques and integrated management strategies. 2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: the knowledge learned will allow students to detect infestations in products and / or agri-food structures and correctly recognize those responsible;; prevention and monitoring techniques and integrated pest control strategies in stored agri-food products. 2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: the knowledge learned will allow students to detect the presence of infestations in food and / or agri-food facilities; correctly recognize the main pests of foodstuffs; to evaluate and prepare appropriate prevention, monitoring and sampling plans at the different levels of the various supply chains; to choose and appropriately apply the various management strategies, favoring those with a lower environmental impact. 3. Autonomous judgment: through the knowledge learned during the course, students will learn how to become aware of the risks associated with food infestations and the importance of integrated and sustainable management in this type of ecosystem; they will also be able to evaluate the appropriateness of pest prevention, monitoring and management programs, applying the knowledge acquired to real cases. 4. Communication skills: students will be able to express the concepts learned with appropriate language and be able to hold a discussion on the topics covered; during practical laboratory activities and visits to companies, the ability to work in a group and interact in a multidisciplinary perspective will be stimulated. Learning skills: the activities described will allow the students to acquire the necessary knowledge and methodological tools to be able to autonomously provide for an adequate update in the future and to stimulate specific insights of the subject through the study of specialized texts, scientific articles and multimedia documents.
Entomology (highly recommended)
Course contents summary
Animal pests in stored products and in food production / processing / storage facilities. Types and extent of damages caused by animal pests on foodstuffs. Risks for human health.
ARTHROPODS (insects and mites) - Main arthropod pests in stored products, food processing and storage facilities (Blattodea, Coleoptera, Psocoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Acaridida): morphology, bio-ecology, behavior and types of damage
VERTEBRATES (rodents, birds) - Main vertebrate pests in stored products, food processing and storage facilities: rodents (Muridae) and birds (Columbidae, Sturnidae). Description of their morphology, bioecology, behavior and types of damage.
Stored food products as ecosystems. Biocoenosis in the main food chains. Factors favouring the growth of pest organisms. Monitoring techniques (passive and active). Methods of analysis of foodstuffs by sampling and analysis (direct visual examination, biological method, coloring, calorimetric and respirometric method, filth-test). Prevention techniques: general hygiene and sanitation standards, adequate plant design, food protection and packaging materials. Integrated and sustainable pest management strategies using different methods (physical-mechanical, biological, biotechnological, use of semiochemicals, chemical means). Legislative references.
Didactic material taken from the lessons
Texts for further information:
• D.W. Hagstrum, B. Subramanyam, Fundamentals of Stored Product Entomology. Amer Assn of Cereal Chemists Ed., 2008
• Hill D.E. Kluver, Pests of Stored Foodstuffs and their Control. Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (NL), 2002.
• Domenichini G., Atlante delle impurità solide negli alimenti. (Ed.). Chiriotti Editori, Pinerolo, 1997.
• Süss L., Locatelli D.P. I parassiti delle derrate. Calderini Edagricole, Bologna. 2001.
Frontal lessons with Powerpoint and scientific videos. Practical laboratory exercises on the recognition of the most common weeds of preserved food products and their damage. A technical visit to companies to show how to identify potential infestation critical points, prevention techniques, active and passive monitoring and management strategies of arthropods and vertebrates in food production / processing / storage facilities
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral exam on the different topics covered in the course