Efficacy of sulfuryl fluoride against the pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Nematoda: Aphelenchidae), in Pinus pinaster boards




The pinewood nematode (PWN) Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is an important conifer disease worldwide. It is the direct cause of the death of millions of pines in south-east Asia (mainly Japan, China and Korea) and has been established in Portugal since 1999. The phasing out of methyl bromide has created an urgent need for alternative treatment of wood packaging materials. The effect of sulfuryl fluoride (SF), a broad-spectrum fumigant used to control insects, was tested in Pinus pinaster boards naturally infested by PWN.


Boards were fumigated for 24 h at three different temperatures (15, 20 and 30 °C) with dosage ranges of 3169–4407, 1901–4051 and 1385–2141 gh m−3 respectively. Treated wood was sampled for nematode identification and counting, before treatment and after 24 h, 72 h and 21 days. No survival was found in the 15 °C and 30 °C treatments, while at 20 °C the mortality ranged from 94.06 to 100%. Some reasons for the survival at 20 °C are presented.


Results confirm SF to be an effective quarantine treatment for PWN at 15 and 30 °C. Further studies are needed to obtain the most effective dosage at 20 °C, and to determine the toxicity of SF fumigation on B. xylophilus at other temperatures, especially at 25 °C. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry