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OSU scientists study stink bugs to save wine crops

Warm temperatures have allowed stink bugs to prosper throughout the Northwest.

BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Warm temperatures have allowed stink bugs to prosper throughout the Northwest.

The problem is being addressed by Oregon State University scientists who are testing how the bugs affect grapes in the Willamette Valley.

As the bugs spread from the Portland area in search of food, the vineyards of Western Oregon represent close-by targets. So far, they have not shown up on grapes in sufficient quantities to pose a problem for winemaking, according to [OSU researcher Elizabeth] Tomasino, the OSU researcher. If they did, blowers used during sorting could hopefully keep them out of the crush. But with so much at stake, OSU researchers decided to figure out how many stink bugs it would take to taint the wine, and what consumers thought of that product.

They made wine in 2012, 2013 and 2014, then served it up after a year of aging in blind taste tests with untainted vintage. (All the wine fell well within the Food and Drug Administration thresholds for insect levels in the crush, according to Tomasino.) The researchers concluded that the recipe for a decidedly stink-bug flavored Pinot was three and a half insects per cluster of grapes, which is well above the levels found to date in the vineyards.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

A "major effort to develop alternative pest controls" has been launched to address the problem. Government regulations have phased out some insecticides.

 

Last modified onMonday, 19 October 2015 11:42

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