WRRC Assoc. Director Jean McLain Awarded Funding From Ariz. Dept. of Agriculture to Study QACs

May 8, 2014

WRRC Associate Director Jean McLain, with collaborators Kurt Nolte (Yuma Agricultural Center) and Channah Rock (Maricopa Agricultural Center) has been awarded funding from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crops Block Grant Program, for a project entitled: “Creation of Self-Sterilizing Harvesting Tools.”

This two-year project will examine the use of quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) for long-term sterilization of harvesting materials. QACs form a long-term biologically resistant film on target surfaces, and this project will examine whether QACs can be used to sterilize harvesting tools without negative crop impacts (e.g., burning, discoloration) that could arise from the use of this product.

This work will include a laboratory study to assess the long-term efficacy of QACs on harvesting tools, and will examine QAC influences on sterility of harvesting aides and QAC-related crop impacts under field conditions over two growing seasons. These results will be compared to control sites without QAC use to assess benefits and/or harm of QAC use in food production. The project also includes extension events to convey results to the grower community.