15th Meeting of the Joint EPPO/IOBC Panel on Biological Control Agents
Additions to PM 6/3, the list of biological control agents safely used in the EPPO region
The Panel recommended the addition of Phasmarhabditis californica (Rhabditida: Rhabditoidea) to PM 6/3, Appendix 1. The dossier will be presented to the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations in 2023 accompanied by an explanatory document reflecting the Panel’s discussion on the potential listing of this nematode.
The Panel reviewed an update of the EPPO Standard PM 6/1(1) First import of exotic biological control agents for research under contained conditions. The draft revision includes an elaborated scope, editorial changes to the introduction, an update on the information that a dossier should include, an update on the guidance the national authority should supply as feedback and an update of the text on general safeguards. The subgroup responsible for the Standard will address comments made by the Panel with the objective of sending the Standard for country consultation in 2023.
The Panel discussed the update of the EPPO standard PM 6/2(3) Import and release of non-indigenous biological control agents. The Panel noted that the current Standard could be amended and Appendix 1, the application form for the import, shipment, rearing and release of invertebrate biological control agents in EPPO countries, could be provided as a Word document rather than embedded in the pdf. Additionally, the Standard should be updated to include reference to the EPPO Standard PM 6/4 Decision‐support scheme for import and release of biological control agents of plant pests.
The Panel reviewed a draft Standard on Host specificity testing of non-indigenous biological control agents used against invasive alien plants. The Standard covers guidance and best practice on essential elements for host specificity testing of arthropod and fungal biological control agents including selection and maintenance of test plants, life cycle studies and optimum conditions to maintain biological control agents. The Panel noted that the Standard contains the appropriate amount of detail, and it is not intended to be a thorough review of the scientific process for host specificity testing. The Panel provided comments on the draft.
The Panel discussed the potential for the development of a Standard on host specificity testing of arthropod biological control agents for arthropod pests. The Panel agreed that it would be useful to consider such a Standard and that external experts may be approached to be part of a sub-group for the development of the Standard. An initial online meeting of experts could evaluate the feasibility of producing this Standard.
The Panel discussed the potential update of the EPPO Standard PM 6/4 Decision‐support scheme for import and release of biological control agents of plant pests. Over the last few years, the scheme has been tested by evaluating different biological control agents and there have been suggestions that can be made to the scheme to improve its use for classical biological control agents. The Panel agreed that this will be reviewed in detail during the 2023 meeting of the Panel.
The Panel approved information sheets for four biological control agents recently added to PM 6/3, appendix 1: Exochomus quadripustulatus, Micromus angulatus, Pronematus ubiquitous and Trissolcus basalis. These information sheets will be added to EPPO Global Database.
The Panel reviewed the new section in the EPPO Reporting Service on biological control agents. In 2022, articles have been published in alternating months starting in April.