U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Detection of internally infested popcorn using electrically conductive roller mills

D. Brabec, F. Dowell, J. Campbell, M. West
Journal of stored products research 2017 v.70 pp. 37-43
Sitophilus zeamais, electrical conductivity, larvae, milling, popcorn, pupae, rolls, seeds, storage insects, teeth
To detect popcorn kernels infested by the internal feeding stored-product insect pest Sitophilus zeamais, maize weevil, a laboratory roller mill was modified so that the electrical conductivity of the grain is measured while the kernels are milled between the rolls. When a kernel with a S. zeamais larvae inside is milled, the moisture from the crushed insect abruptly changes the conductivity of the test circuit. The objective of this study was to determine the potential of the modified conductance mill to detect popcorn infested with different developmental stages. Two laboratory milling units were tested that had differing sharpness, which affected the feed-rate through the rolls. One mill averaged 135 s to feed 1 kg of popcorn while the second mill with sharper teeth averaged 100 s to feed 1 kg of popcorn. Four popcorn varieties were evaluated, with their average kernel weight ranging from 12.5 g to 18.5 g per 100 kernels. Known numbers of infested popcorn kernels were added to 1 kg samples of popcorn. The slower feeding mill detected 81% of the pupae, 91% of the medium larvae, and 47% of the small larvae. The faster feeding mill detected 75% of the pupae, 80% of the medium larvae, and 43% of the small larvae. Our results indicate that the conductance mill is a good method for quickly evaluating popcorn samples for kernels infested with late stage larvae and pupae.