Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Schilling, M. Wes

Committee Member

Williams, J. Byron

Committee Member

Kim, Taejo

Committee Member

Coatney, Kalyn

Committee Member

Phillips, Thomas W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Food Science and Technology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


The ham mite, Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Schrank) (Sarcoptiformes: Acaridae) is the predominant pest of dry cured hams during aging in the processing facilities. Methyl bromide is currently the only known fumigant that is effective at controlling ham mite infestations in aging houses. However, methyl bromide is being phased out of all industries and will be depleted in the near future. The research objectives were to 1) evaluate dry cured hams that have been treated with previously developed food grade coatings for sensory differences, and 2) to develop and determine the efficacy of ham nets incorporated with food grade coatings on controlling mite infestations and sensory properties. Food grade coating combinations of 1) propylene glycol (PG), xanthan gum, and water or 2) PG, propylene glycol alginates, carrageenan and water were dipped and sprayed on whole hams in commercial facilities in the summers of 2014 and 2015 (composition patent pending). The lowest concentration of propylene glycol needed to control mites in laboratory studies was 15% with xanthan gum and 7.5% with propylene glycol alginate and carrageenan. Sensory difference from control tests with trained panelists indicated that there were slight to moderate differences detected in some of the treated hams in comparison to untreated control hams (P < 0.05) when hams were dipped with coatings. However, there were no differences (P > 0.05) detected between the treated hams and the control hams when hams were only sprayed rather than dipped with these coatings. Polyester/cotton blend or cotton nets were infused with various food grade coatings and evaluated on the bench top by inoculating 20 adult mites onto one inch ham cubes for their efficacy at controlling mite infestations. Live adults and mobile immature stages were counted after 14 d of incubation (23 ± 2 °C and 70 ± 5% RH). Mite infestation tests demonstrated that coatings and coating-treated nets were effective at controlling mite growth. Therefore, food grade coatings can be applied to dry cured hams and also can be infused into nets as a potential means to control mite growth in ham processing facilities.