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Standard Guide for Dosimetry for Sterile Insect Release Programs

2018-07-06 /Active
Significance and Use:

4.1 The major use of factory-reared insects is in sterile insect release programs (for example, Sterile Insect Technique, or SIT) for suppressing or eradicating pest populations (2,3). Large numbers of reproductively sterile (irradiated) insects are released into an area where a wild “target population” of the same species exists. The wild population is reduced to the extent that the sterile males are successful in mating with wild females. The radiation dose absorbed by the factory-reared insects should be within a range that induces the desired level of sterility without substantially reducing the ability of factoryreared males to compete with wild males for mates. Species targeted by SIT programs are typically major pests affecting agriculture or human health, so the assurance by standardized dosimetry that insects have been properly irradiated is of crucial importance to agriculture growers, agricultural regulators, public health officials, and the public (3). The irradiator operator must demonstrate by means of accurate absorbed-dose measurements that all insects have received absorbed dose within the specified range.

4.2 Another use of factory-reared insects is in the production of parasitoids for release against populations of insect pests (4). Parasitoids are insects that spend the larval stage feeding within or on the body of a “host” species, typically killing the host. In some parasitoid programs, factory-reared host insects are irradiated before being offered to parasitoids. This eliminates the need to separate unparasitized hosts from parasitoids so that fertile, unparasitized host insects are not inadvertently released into the field.

4.3 Factory-reared insects may be treated with ionizing radiation, such as gamma radiation from 137Cs or 60Co sources, or X-radiation or electrons from accelerators. Gamma irradiation of insects is often carried out in small, fixed-geometry, dry-storage irradiators (5). Dosimetry methods for gamma and X-ray irradiation of insects have been demonstrated and include useful procedures for measuring the absorbed dose distribution throughout the volume of the irradiation container(s) in these small irradiators (ASTM Practice 52116 and Refs (1,6)) as well as large-scale gamma irradiators (ISO/ASTM Practice 51702 and Ref (7)).

4.4 Specifications for irradiation of factory-reared insects include a lower limit of absorbed dose and may include a central target dose and an upper limit. These values are based on program requirements and on scientific data on effects of absorbed dose on the sterility, viability, and competitiveness of the factory-reared insects.

4.5 To demonstrate control of the radiation process, the absorbed dose must be measured using a calibrated dosimetry system. Regulations or policies under which the facility operates may require the calibration to be traceable to appropriate national or international standards. The radiation-induced change in the dosimeter is evaluated and related to absorbed dose through calibration (ISO/ASTM Practice 51261).

4.6 For each irradiator, absorbed-dose rate at a reference position within the irradiated volume of insects or simulated product is measured using a transfer or reference standard dosimetry system. That measurement provides a basis for calculating the duration of irradiation, conveyor speed, or other parameter required to deliver the specified absorbed dose to the insects.

4.7 Absorbed-dose mapping for establishing magnitudes and locations of minimum dose (Dmin) and maximum dose (Dmax) is performed using actual product or simulated product (5).


1.1 This guide outlines dosimetric procedures to be followed for the radiation-induced reproductive sterilization of live insects for use in pest management programs. The primary use of such insects is in the Sterile Insect Technique, where large numbers of reproductively sterile insects are released into the field to mate with and thus control pest populations of the same species. A secondary use of sterile insects is as benign hosts for rearing insect parasitoids. The procedures outlined in this guide will help ensure that insects processed with ionizing radiation from gamma, electron, or X-ray sources receive absorbed doses within a predetermined range. Information on effective dose ranges for specific applications of insect sterilization, or on methodology for determining effective dose ranges, is not within the scope of this guide.

NOTE 1—Dosimetry is only one component of a total quality assurance program to ensure that irradiated insects are adequately sterilized and fully competitive or otherwise suitable for their intended purpose.

1.2 This guide provides information on dosimetry for the irradiation of insects for these types of irradiators: selfcontained dry-storage 137Cs or 60Co irradiators, self-contained low-energy X-ray irradiators (maximum processing energies from 150 to 300 keV), large-scale gamma irradiators, and electron accelerators (electron and X-ray modes).

NOTE 2—Additional, detailed information on dosimetric procedures to be followed in installation qualification, operational qualification, performance qualification, and routine product processing can be found in ISO/ASTM Practices 51608 (X-ray [bremsstrahlung] facilities processing at energies over 300 keV), 51649 (electron beam facilities), 51702 (large-scale gamma facilities), and 52116 (self-contained dry-storage gamma facilities), and in Ref (1)2 (self-contained X-ray facilities).

1.3 The absorbed dose for insect sterilization is typically within the range of 20 to 600 Gy.

1.4 This guide refers, throughout the text, specifically to reproductive sterilization of insects. It is equally applicable to radiation sterilization of invertebrates from other taxa (for example, Acarina, Gastropoda) and to irradiation of live insects or other invertebrates for other purposes (for example, inducing mutations), provided the absorbed dose is within the range specified in 1.3.

1.5 This guide also covers the use of radiation-sensitive indicators for the visual and qualitative indication that the insects have been irradiated.

1.6 This document is one of a set of standards that provides recommendations for properly implementing and utilizing dosimetry in radiation processing and describes a means of achieving compliance with the requirements of ASTM Practice E2628. It is intended to be read in conjunction with ASTM E2628.

1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

absorbed dose; biological control; cesium-137; cobalt-60; electron accelerator; dosimeter; dosimetry; gamma; insect irradiation; insect rearing; ionizing radiation; irradiation; irradiator characterization; parasitoid rearing; radiation; sterile insect technique; SIT; X-radiation; ICS 17.240
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