The potential of near-infrared spectroscopy for the rapid detection of pests in stored grain


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 October 1991 - 30 September 1993
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:
J Chambers, C Ridgway, C B van Wyk, C W Baker and R J Barnes, CSL-Slough



About this project


Significant progress has been made towards the development of the first rapid method for the detection of insect pests of cereals which are either outside or inside the grain kernels. The method is based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR), which is already familiar to the cereal trade for the measurement of moisture and protein. The work has established the optimum conditions for recording the NIR response from samples of cereal grains which are infested with either saw-toothed grain beetles or grain weevils. The method functions with differentvarieties of cereals at different moisture contents. The NIR technique can distinguish between uninfested kernels and those which contain larval or pupal stages of the grain weevil. The speed of scanning and simplicity of the data analysis mean that the result should be available within a few seconds. This will be of immense value to the cereal trade whether for the analysis of grain samples taken from a lorry, ship or conveyor belt. Presently the sensitivity of the technique is inadequate for trade use but recent developments in hardware will bring major improvements. It will then be possible to assess the feasibility of developing apparatus for the rapid detection of pests and the simultaneous measurement of other parameters including moisture and protein.