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Development of alternatives to the use of Methyl Bromide fumigation for intransit treatments for alien invertebrate pests - PH0415

Description
The EU identifies a range of organisms of Plant Health importance whose introduction and movement around the EU are prohibited. Legislation in third countries also places strict phytosanitary requirements on exports to those countries. Effective quarantine disinfestation treatments are vital if traded plants and plant products are to meet some of these legislatory requirements.

The majority of existing quarantine schedules for invertebrate pests rely on methyl bromide fumigation. Despite derogations for critical uses, phasing out of the use of methyl bromide will result in severe risks of the introduction of quarantine pests and diseases into the UK for which there is no effective intransit or clean up treatments that do not involve the use of the fumigant. In addition, exemptions for critical use rely on there being work underway to investigate, evaluate, or field test new techniques with a view to phasing out methyl bromide as soon as possible.

The increased risk of movement of economically damaging pests on the trade in plants and plant products has been identified as a primary concern relating to the loss of methyl bromide in a report to Defra Global Atmosphere Division (CPEG 16), and the EU have funded a major study to identify candidate treatments that could be developed as alternatives to the use of this fumigant (FAIR CT98 4259). Under this project, a range of treatments were investigated including composting, heat treatments, hot water dipping, use of controlled atmospheres, alternative fumigants, and a range of combination treatments. Application for disinfestations of a wide range of plants and plant products from nematode, whitefly, leafminer, thrips, lepidopteran and aphid species of quarantine importance were considered. Several showed promise as alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation, but further work is now needed to complete final development and testing for use in the field, and to determine how generic each technique can be made with the objective of being effective against the pest on the range of plants or plant products on which it is likely to be imported into the UK. The latter is important as tolerance to treatment schedules can vary significantly between plant species, resulting in commercially unacceptable damage being caused to some species by schedules that are satisfactory for use against others.

In this project, candidate treatments are selected from the range identified as promising under earlier work, for further development for practical use against named pests of quarantine significance. Selection will be made by a Steering Group consisting of Plant Health policy makers, Plant Health consultants and members of the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI). The Steering Group will be involved at all stages of the project and the delivery schedule is designed to ensure that information is provided for use by stakeholders at the earliest possible moment, rather than waiting until the end of the project. In addition, extension of successful methods developed on named commodities to other plants that act as hosts of the selected pests will be investigated where appropriate.

The objectives of the project are as follows:

To take advantage of published and unpublished research into alternative treatment methods to the use of Methyl Bromide fumigation for intransit control (that under defined circumstances may also be applicable to clean up of outbreaks) of quarantine pests, by investigating and establishing the potential of selected methods in isolation and where appropriate in combination by:
1. Liaising with a project Steering Group including Plant Health policy makers, Plant Health consultants and members of the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate to select priority invertebrate pests from different taxonomic groups for investigation. Selecting appropriate host plants on which they may be transported into the UK in trade for experimental work.
2. Selecting candidate control methods and summarising existing data on responses of different pest species, life stages etc to these methods, and on phytotoxic effects on the test plants.
3. Undertaking experimental work to fill gaps in datasets on the selected treatment methods/pest species.
4. Reviewing findings and identifying the best treatments methods for each pest/life stage and considering the feasibility of combination treatments. Testing the candidate “best treatments” (including combination treatments) on mixed-stage pest populations infesting growing plants.
5. If population tests are successful and extension is appropriate, investigating the potential for extending treatment to other plants selected by the Steering Group.
6. If appropriate write practical treatment schedules for consideration by the PHSI.

If the PHSI and Plant Health Division consider it to be appropriate, and opportunity arises, assistance will be offered to the PHSI in the first use of schedules arising from the project against interceptions of the selected pests on imported plants and plant products.
Objective
To take advantage of published and unpublished research into alternative treatment methods to the use of Methyl Bromide fumigation for intransit control of quarantine pests on imported plants and plant products (that under defined circumstances may also be applicable to clean up of outbreaks), by investigating and establishing the potential of selected methods in isolation and where appropriate in combination by:
1. Selecting target pests and host plant combinations: Liaising with a project Steering Group including Plant Health policy makers, Plant Health consultants and members of the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate to select priority invertebrate pests from different taxonomic groups for investigation. Select appropriate host plants on which they may be transported into the UK in trade for experimental work.
2. Reviewing the pest control methods for the selected pests: Selecting candidate control methods and summarising existing data on responses of different pest species, life stages etc to these methods, and on phytotoxic effects on the test plants.
3. Filling treatment data gaps by experimentation for the selected treatments: Undertaking experimental work to fill gaps in datasets on the selected treatment methods/pest species.
4. Testing candidate treatments on mixed stage pest “populations”: Reviewing findings and identifying the best treatments methods for each pest/life stage and considering the feasibility of combination treatments. Testing the candidate “best treatments” (including combination treatments) on mixed-stage pest populations infesting growing plants.
5. Considering potential for extension of pest treatment schedules to other plant hosts: If population tests are successful and extension is appropriate, investigating the potential for extending treatment to other plants selected by the Steering Group, or extending the project to other pest/treatment combinations if added hosts are not required.
6. Producing treatment schedules: If appropriate write practical treatment schedules for consideration by the PHSI.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Development of alternatives to the use of methyl bromide fumigation for in-transit treatments of alien invertebrate pests   (934k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2008

Cost: £118,861
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
Plant health              
Plant Pests and Diseases              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Plant Health