Outsmarting the pistachio-greedy worm while storing your nuts

When we think of pistachios, our minds travel to Italy: gelato al pistachio, crema di pistachio, pesto al pistachio, the list goes on.  

But before these mouthwatering dishes can be made, you must harvest and transport the nuts. Alas, you are faced with many challenges, starting with another pistachio lover and the harvesters’ worst enemy: the navel orangeworm. 

The little menace disrupts the harmony of your pistachio storage, wreaking havoc by feeding on pistachio kernels, driving up the processing costs, and contaminating the nuts with Aspergillus spp., a fungus that facilitates the poisonous aflatoxin.  

Modified atmosphere conquers the worm attack  

You can protect your nuts from worms by having good orchard practice. Here the modified atmosphere (MA) technology from Masterpack steps in, to give you a hand in the battle with the pests. You can apply it in hermetically sealed big bags, making it a biobased substitute that eliminates insects. In addition, it reduces mold formation, respiration, and auto-oxidation which can cause fat degradation and rancidity. 

Using Masterpack’s technology you can modify the levels of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Carbon Dioxide inside the storage bags. You should store pistachios under low Oxygen (~1%), which will reduce respiration, in the short-term inactivating and eventually killing all stages of insects. In addition, it will obstruct the formation of molds by preventing the sporulation of fungal spores and reducing toxic compounds such as mycotoxin. Moreover, it halts the formation of mycelium, a part of the moldy fungus. MA also comes in handy avoiding the auto-oxidation of the fats inside the nuts, ensuring a better taste, smell, and color of your pistachios.  

If the Oxygen level is not low enough to control both insects and/or molds, Masterpack’s equipment allows you to lower the Oxygen levels to 0.5% or increase the CO2 levels in the gas mixture to 10-30%. That is toxic for both molds and insects but is still considered a biological treatment. MA is, therefore, ecologically friendly with the potential to prolong the shelf-life of your pistachios significantly, and most importantly get rid of the infestations of gritty worms.  

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