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SAFETY AND REGISTRATION OF MICROBIAL AGENTS FOR CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • Mark S. Goettel (a1) and Stefan T. Jaronski (a2)

Abstract

Microbial control agents offer a method of pest control using organisms that are a natural component of the environment and are usually much more selective than chemical pesticides. Furthermore, they can usually be integrated with other methods of control, and may provide prolonged control by establishment within the host population. However, microbial control agents also possess properties that can pose human and environmental risks depending on the nature of the pathogen and its pattern of use. We present an overview of issues concerning the safety and registration of microbial control agents with emphasis on pathogens of locusts and grasshoppers. The potential safety issues and other consequences of concern from the deployment of microorganisms for pest control are: (1) pathogenicity to non-target organisms, (2) toxigenicity to non-target organisms, (3) competitive displacement of microorganisms, and (4) allergenicity. Inundative control methods pose unique risks because the pathogens must be produced in large quantities, stored, transported, and applied, usually in concentrations much higher than would normally ever occur naturally. The overriding concern in introducing an exotic agent is the risk to non-target beneficial organisms, because once the agent becomes established, it will in most situations be impossible to eradicate. However, if indigenous organisms are used, there is relatively little risk of irreversible, long-term detrimental effects. A synopsis of safety testing results of some of the more promising microbial control agents for grasshoppers and locusts and an evaluation of their potential hazards are presented. Safety to vertebrates is evaluated by a tiered series of laboratory test requirements. Assessments on hazards to non-target invertebrates are based principally on results of laboratory bioassays. Safety tests should be chosen with regard to the biological characteristics of the agent and should not impose standards that are more stringent than those imposed on other forms of pest control. Regulatory oversight should assure the integrity of the environment and safety of the public, while at the same time not unduly hampering the development, registration, and use of more sustainable pest control methods.

La méthode de lutte contre les ravageurs au moyen d'agents microbiens utilise des organismes trouvés en milieu naturel et généralement beaucoup plus sélectifs que les pesticides chimiques. Ces agents peuvent être combinés à d'autres méthodes de lutte et avoir une action prolongée grâce à leur établissement au coeur de la population hôte. Cependant, l'utilisation d'agents microbiens comporte des risques pour la population humaine et pour l'environnement qui sont fonction de la nature même du pathogène et de la méthode d'application. Nous présentons ici un aperçu des problèmes qui entourent l'utilisation sécuritaire et l'enregistrement des agents pathogènes, en particulier ceux qui sont utilisés dans la lutte contre les criquets; les points à étudier particulièrement sont : (1) les effets pathogènes sur les organismes non visés, (2) la toxicité pour les organismes non visés, (3) la compétition imposée aux micro-organismes en place par les nouveaux micro-organismes et (4) les propriétés allergènes des agents utlisés. Les méthodes envahissantes de lutte comportent des risques très particuliers parce que les pathogènes doivent être produits en grande quantité, entreposés, transportés et généralement appliqués en concentrations beaucoup plus élevées que celles qui prévalent en nature. Le point le plus critique de l'introduction d'un agent exotique de lutte contre les ravageurs est le risque encouru par les organismes utiles non visés puisque, une fois établi, l'agent est généralement impossible à éliminer. Par ailleurs, si des organismes indigènes sont utilisés, les risques d'effets dommageables importants, durables et irréversibles sont relativement faibles. On trouvera ici un résumé des résultats de tests sur la sécurité d'utilisation d'agents prometteurs de lutte contre les criquets, ainsi qu'une évaluation des risques qui leur sont associés. L'innocuité pour les vertébrés est évaluée au moyen de séries hiérarchiques de tests en laboratoire. Les évaluations des risques pour les invertébrés non visés sont basées en grande partie sur les résultats de tests en laboratoire. Les tests destinés à évaluer l'innocuité d'un agent doivent être choisis en fonction des caractéristiques biologiques de l'agent et ne doivent pas imposer de contraintes qui soient plus sévères que celles qui sont associées à d'autres formes de lutte contre les ravageurs. Les règles d'utilisation d'un agent doivent assurer l'intégrité de l'environnement et tenir compte de la sécurité des personnes, mais ne doivent pas être telles qu'elles empêchent la fabrication, l'enregistrement et l'utilisation de méthodes de lutte plus durables contre les ravageurs. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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SAFETY AND REGISTRATION OF MICROBIAL AGENTS FOR CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • Mark S. Goettel (a1) and Stefan T. Jaronski (a2)

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