West Virginia University

Extension Service

March 2001

Dr. John F. Baniecki, Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology/Entomology,
Pest Management Program

The EPA Continues the Process to Phase Out Methyl Bromide, But Recent Developments Will Affect the Final Outcome

Currently, the complete phase out will be complete in 2005. Most other countries (with some notable exceptions like China) are subject to a similar phase out period. The phase out process in an individual country is subject to the will of the national legislative body. In the United States, for example, Congress passed exceptions for quarantine uses and 'critical' uses. The meaning of 'quarantine' is pretty clear; a great deal of discussion is necessary before 'critical' is defined. The exceptions will not count toward the overall methyl bromide cap.

In the end, methyl bromide production is likely to continue even if major agriculture uses (85% of the current market) are lost. Methyl bromide is not difficult or expensive to produce, and it is often a byproduct or intermediate for other industrial processes.

(Federal News, EPA, March-01)

 Methyl Iodide has been Suggested as a Substitute for Methyl Bromide

It has a similar range of efficacy, and methyl iodide does not harm the stratospheric ozone layer. Methyl iodide is in the registration queue, but it will not be available before 2005. Even if methyl iodide can pass stringent EPA health and environmental standards, it may be registered too late.

(Federal News, EPA, March-01)

New Developments May Help Trees Produce Fruit Sooner

Perennial crops (e.g., peaches) have one big problem. A grower must plant and maintain the trees for years before any fruit can be picked. Citrus growers may wait up to 20 years for peak fruit production. Spanish researchers have introduced a gene that allows oranges to produce fruit within two years. The genes were introduced from mustard weed. The scientists suspect the genes will produce similar effects in other citrus. (Nature Biotechnology, 3-01 via The Washington Post, 3-1-01)

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The West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and West Virginia counties cooperating. Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.