The first step of two cycles of tests on cereal storage in containers filled with over 90% nitrogen, which was mentioned here some weeks ago, has been successfully completed. CRISBA, a research center of Institute “Leopoldo II di Lorena”, in collaboration with Pisa University and Bologna University, Maremma Toscana Agricultural Consortium, Emilia Agrocultural Consortion and Research Unit CREA-Bergamo, using a method by Eurosider S.a.s., has finished the series of experiments on various effects of atmosphere rich in nitrogen on cereal storage. Different configurations, nitrogen purity values, kinds of cereals and periods of storage were tested, as well as the effect of variation of above parameters on quality of the cereals, humidity, capacity to defend from pests and mycotoxines contamination risk.
On Monday, July 25th in Crisba headquarters a press release took place, where Lorenzo Moncini, the researcher in charge of the project, has presented the results of a year of tests together with his colleagues Giampaola Pachetti, Alfonso De Pietro, Maider Giorgini and Managing director of Eurosider Ottavio Milli.
The tests proved the efficiency of nitrogen for elimination of the insects, also the ones particularly resistant to the lack of oxygen. The quick elimination of populations of such dangerous pests as flour beetle and indian mealmoth (Plodia interpunctella) was demonstrated. This prevented consequent perforation of caryopsys, related loss of product and molds development on the crumb damaged by insects. These results have been obtained without use of any chemical fumigant products, highly toxic for humans, such as phosphines, which leave traces in the products and have a heavy environmental impact. From ecological point of view, Eurosider system represents a low environmental impact alternative to the conventional treatment of stored cereals, and one of the few possible solutions for organic products.
The humidity within cereal storage containers with atmosphere enriched in nitrogen proved to be lower than within “conventional” silos, that were provided as a comparison term. This is a positive result both for maintenance of some quality features of stored cereals and for prevention of patogenic microorganisms development.
A part of tests was designed to verify the effect of cereal storage in atmosphere enriched in nitrogen on the healthy properties of stored corn grains, with particular attention to risk of contamination by aflatoxin B1. Aflatoxin B1 is a dangerous mycotoxin, produced by pathogenic fungus, that could contaminate various agricultural products, damaging human and animal health if eaten. The molecula of aflatoxin remains unchanged after cooking, and is a part of human cancer causing substances, according to IARC classification.
The series of analysis by CRISBA allowed to find the first positive indicative results: in nitrogen enriched atmosphere the mycotoxin contamination positive samples were absent, while present in conventionally stored cereals, other conditions being the same .
CRISBA tests haven’t shown any decrease of germinitability after storage in nitrogen enriched atmosphere.
The tests resulted in the conclusion that in nitrogen enriched atmosphere the main qualitative characteristics of cereals were the same as those stored conventionally, and moreover there were interesting results showing perservation of averagely higher level of antioxidants in nitrogen enriched atmosphere.