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International news in brief – November/December 2018

| December 7, 2018
  • Europe’s largest flow-through mesocosm launches in Yorkshire

E-Flows mesocosm officially launches

Europe’s first fully flow-through, edge of field waterbody safety assessment facility has been opened by Kevin Hollinrake, UK Member of Parliament for Thirsk and Malton at an event in York, England. The E-Flows mesocosm is a ground-breaking project designed and developed by translational science and research organisation Fera Science Limited (Fera) in partnership with the UK’s Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) and supported by Innovate UK. It will be managed and operated by Fera for use by the chemical industry and researchers.

Kevin Hollinrake MP officially launches E-Flows mesocosm

The new E-Flows mesocosm has been in development for two years and will allow the examination of simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. This form of higher tier testing will enable the agrichemical industry, particularly those developing plant protection products such as pesticides, to demonstrate whether their products pose any risk to aquatic environments.

Providing a test-bed of 60 realistic streams, each of up to two metres wide and ten metres long, the flow of each stream in the E-Flows mesocosm can be varied independently so that they can be fast flowing like a stream, slow following like a ditch or even almost still, like a pond, giving researchers complete flexibility and control.

“Historically, many standard mesocosms lack the scale, water flow and realism of real-life aquatic environments as they tend to be relatively small and unable to support the abundance of biodiversity needed to meet regulatory requirements,” explained Dr Rachel Benstead, senior aquatic ecotoxicologist at Fera. “Many of those currently available are static or simply recirculate water, which is not a true representation of what happens out in the field, where fresh water is continuously flowing.

“Our E-Flows mesocosm is supplied with a continuous flow-through of aged, fresh water. Combined with its significantly large size, we can better support the diverse aquatic communities, ensuring testing will be fairer, more flexible and representative of real life, providing the best possible opportunities for leading research in agriculture.

Dr Andrew Swift, CEO of Fera, added: “The E-Flows mesocosm is a ground-breaking facility that will support the protection of natural capital and our environment.”

“It was an honour to open the E-Flows Mesocosm at Sand Hutton,” said Kevin Hollinrake MP. “I’m fully supportive of all the work CHAP and its partners, like Fera, are doing here. The day was quite an eye-opener and made me realise just how important it is to use science and technology to help increase crop productivity, reduce costs and protect our environment”

“In the last three weeks we have had six active ingredients withdrawn from the market by the European Parliament,” added John Chinn, board chair at CHAP. “Had this facility been available five years ago, these ingredients would have been put through the facility and we would have ensured that they were withdrawn only if there is a risk to the environment. As it is, they have been withdrawn based on a modelling exercise which has said there may be a risk”.

“This new investment is set to greatly support not only the agrichemical industry but all chemical industries, providing high quality regulatory evidence and supporting the development of novel crop products that are safe for our aquatic environments. Testing will be fairer, more flexible and more representative of real life than ever before.”

Fera Science Limited (formerly the Food and Environment Research Agency) is a joint venture based in the United Kingdom owned by Capita (75%) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (25%). CHAP is one of the Government’s four agri-tech centres. Its aim is to increase crop productivity for future generations through the uptake of new technologies.  ¢

  • Eradicoat stars in ITN production

As part of a wider project sponsored by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) in partnership with ITN Productions, Certis Europe has collaborated to produce a short film featuring Eradicoat and the contribution it can make to sustainable food production as part of integrated pest management practice.

Eradicoat application to cocoa

This film is part of a longer news and current affairs-style programme introduced by national newsreader, Natasha Kaplinsky. It was commissioned by the RSB to explore the breadth and depth of the biosciences and to show how they relate to and can help to address a range of global challenges facing the world today. The programme captures the innovations and revelations at the forefront of scientific endeavour, as well as the practical applications that these breakthroughs will have for this generation and the next.

Filmed in the UK and Ghana, the film shows how a product, originally conceived to address a specific concern over insecticide resistance development in protected crops in Europe, is now being tested in development trials in West Africa, where it is being evaluated for the control of Mealy Bug in cocoa.

In both situations, Eradicoat, which is based on maltodextrin, a naturally occurring compound used in foodstuffs, meets the requirements for sustainable food production in terms of its safety to the environment, to non-target beneficial species, to operators and to the environment and as such helps to meet the challenge of how to feed a growing world population in a sustainable way.
More Information: https://itnproductions.wistia.com/projects/7kp1raedv6.

  • Award winning transparency

Safety study summaries of glyphosate will soon be available on Bayer’s dedicated transparency platform. “Our commitment to transparency remains core to our mission as we move forward as a combined company,” said Liam Condon, President of the Crop Science Division.

“We recognize that people around the world want more information around glyphosate – and we are eager to offer access to our glyphosate-related safety data on our dedicated transparency platform. This platform has set new standards of accountability and responsibility in the sector; we pledge to use it as a springboard to continue to share science-based information with the public,” he added.

Juliet Smith (right), who hosted the awards ceremony, and Robert Birkett, Specialist Journalist at Agribusiness Intelligence, hand over the Agrow Award 2018 to Charlotte Morr, Project Lead of the Transparency Initiative at the Crop Science Division of Bayer.

In addition to the glyphosate study summaries which should be available from December 7, 2018, access to the underlying safety study reports – owned by Bayer and submitted for the review that led to the European substance renewal decision in December – will be enabled next year.

Bayer claims its platform demonstrates how transparency around crop protection safety studies can help the company achieve its commitment to sound science and the safe use of its products, while at the same time maintaining confidential business information.

And it would seem the industry agrees with this analysis. Bayer has been awarded Best Public Outreach Program for its Transparency in Crop Science Initiative at the 11th Agrow Awards ceremony, held in London, United Kingdom in November. Bayer was selected as the winner from a shortlist of eight finalists; the category recognizes excellence in the communication of information on the benefits of agrochemical or agbiotech products.

“We at Bayer are incredibly honoured to see our efforts recognized as we continue to build trust in the science that underscores our industry-leading innovation,” said Jesus Madrazo, Head of Agricultural Affairs and Sustainability at the Crop Science Division of Bayer. “The Bayer Transparency Initiative set new standards for accountability and responsibility in the sector, and we pledge to use this as a foundation as we proactively engage in new platforms that promote more dialogue between those who produce our food and those who consume it.”

As a leading life-science company, Bayer embraces its responsibility to communicate how it assesses its products’ safety. As such, in December 2017, Bayer was the first in the crop protection industry to enable access to its crop protection studies via a dedicated transparency platform which also offers videos, infographics and communication materials to help put regulatory science into context.

Moving forward, Bayer will continue its Transparency in Crop Science Initiative by adding further substances to the platform.
„More information: https://www.cropscience-transparency.bayer.com/

  • Parasitec 2018, the trade fair that makes sense

Over 3,200 people attended this biennial Paris trade fair aimed at the pest control sector. Once again, the event took place at the Paris Event Centre; this functional and comfortable venue is bright, well heated and spacious enough for specialists in spraying to display large vehicles. 2018 broke attendance records, with an increase of around 4.5% compared to 2016.

Parasitec 2018 at the Paris Event Centre Photo: PC Media

Whether big or small, 93 companies exhibited (manufacturers and distributors, formulators, service providers and media). Of those, 42 companies were French with the remainder coming from 22 countries around the world. There was a strong presence from the Italians (15 booths) and the English (9 booths) while China and the US each had 3 booths. The Netherlands, Spain and Hungary had two booths each. Also present were Germany, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, South Korea, Denmark, Greece, India, Israel, Monaco, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia and Taiwan.

Among the new exhibitors were IPM Square from Israël, NPO Garant from Russia, Bluestar from Monaco, Astardys, Izinovation, Eurochem, Eolectec and Nector from France.

Many were offering formulations as a method for controlling pests and parasites, but mechanical solutions seem to be more represented than in the past. Indeed, 57% of exhibitors offered solutions such as trapping, biocontrol and the so-called “alternative” solutions. Connected traps are also on the rise and business management software was developing too.

The number of visitors is constantly increasing since the creation of Parasitec. Exhibitors promote the event to their customers. And the client industries of the pest control sector, such as the hygiene, hotels, restaurants, the public works sector and local authorities are all encouraged to attend.

The admission data revealed a rise in foreign visitors. “The event is now internationally renowned, with events taking place in other countries such as Turkey for 2015 and 2017, and soon in Hungary, which we are already promoting,” says M. Kabouche. “This confirms that our formula – which can and will be further improved – perfectly meets market expectations, and that Parasitec is today a particularly effective tool for promoting the sector, well beyond the borders of Europe,” he added.

Dr Jean-Michel Michaux (ISTAV – Scientific and Technical Institute of the Animal in the City) giving a conference on ‘New methods for the exploration and control of rodent populations’. Photo: PC Media

The conference programme, specially designed for the occasion and entirely produced in French and in English, allowed the presentation of 11 themes. The dedicated space was packed for many conferences. Unsurprisingly, the most concrete topics attracted the most people, including the lecture by Dr Jean-Michel Michaux (ISTAV – Scientific and Technical Institute of the Animal in the City) on “New methods for the exploration and control of rodent populations”; the conference by Yann Le Louarn (RatDown) on “Tomorrow’s rodent control with high level of performance”; the lecture by Arnaud Debaisieux (Independent trainer) on “Commercial negotiation”; and the one by Marie Effroy (Eco Flair) on bed bugs.

Exchanges of ideas and technologies were insightful and rich. The exhibitors were particularly satisfied with the level of business activity and were able to meet a lot of visitors – and what visitors! Many nationalities were present which confirms that Parasitec is the main European exhibition. Among the professionals who were there, many were high level, decision-making business leaders and city representatives.

Not to be missed in 2020 then! And in the meantime, go to Budapest on 9 & 10 May 2019.
Author: Hélène Frontier

  • Compostable spider mite control

Spical Ulti-Mite is now available in a high-tech foil sachet, a newly patented design from Koppert Biological Systems that ensures consistent performance in variable climatic conditions. Compared to regular paper sachets, the Spical Ulti-Mite foil sachets are claimed to perform up to three times better, with the company trials showing that Spical Ulti-Mite consistently delivers a higher number of predatory mites even under challenging conditions.

Extensive research has resulted in the new foil sachet that creates a better environment for the predatory mite to build up its population. The superior quality of the sachet ensures the breeding system is better protected against environmental conditions that may affect the mites emerging from it. In addition, Koppert Biological Systems has reinforced the attachment hook to make it even more robust.

The new Spical Ulti-Mite sachets can be disposed of together with the crop waste. The sachet is made of a foil that conforms to the required industrial compostable standards.

  • Comfortable spraying!

Family owned Mesto Sprayers of Germany is delighted to announce the launch of its new 7.5l and 10l stainless steel compression sprayers, approved by the latest WHOPES (WHO Pesticides Evaluation Scheme) 2nd edition Geneva 2018 and certified by IPARC at Harper Adams University, UK – the official WHO Collaboration Centre.

The new sprayers were developed using first-hand feedback from qualified operators and in cooperation with international stakeholders from the world of vector control. As a result, the company believes better carrying comfort has been combined with the durability of a stainless steel tank.

The carrying comfort is ensured by the unique ergonomic design of the upper part of the sprayer and the lower foot-ring with the option of padded carrying straps available. In addition, the 7.5l sprayer has the perfect size and weight for applying insecticide, based on 7.5l sachets.

When opened, the lid with its extra-large, separate filling hole and innovative built-in safety valve releases pressure automatically.

A pressure gauge integrated into the ergonomically designed shut-off valve enables the operator to view and control the working pressure continuously.

The printed control sheet on the tank, the lance and the large handle for convenient pumping and carrying, all complement the new MESTO 3598BM 7.5l and 3618BM 10l stainless steel sprayers.

The sprayers are made in Germany at Mesto’s own production facility in Freiberg am Neckar. Founded in 1919 Mesto benefits from almost 100 years of experience in the development and production of portable sprayers.

  • Italy: The Asian bug’s nemesis has been found

An insect capable of parasitising the Asian stink bug has been identified by Bioplanet. It is not an exotic antagonist but is already present in Europe and therefore it does not need to go through all the processes required before an exotic species can be introduced.

Alessia Iacovone, R&D specialist, is in charge of this project at Bioplanet: “The insect is called  Anastatus bifasciatus, a Hymenoptera already present in Italy and the whole of Europe. In recent years many researchers have studied it because of its ability to parasitise the eggs of the introduced pest  Halyomorpha halys,  known as the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

Anastatus bifasciatus on the Asian bug’s eggs

“We noticed in our area that  Anastatus bifasciatus  shows the capacity to kill the  Halyomorphas  eggs at much higher rates than previously reported. We ran many tests and in all of them the percentage of parasitised eggs was very high and up to 80% in a single egg-mass. Furthermore, the adult female is also able to destroy the bug’s eggs by feeding on them, so we believe this is the path to follow because when a good native species is a promising control agent it must be considered before evaluating exotic ones”.

The first releases will begin in the Spring of 2019. Adds lacovone, “We believe that we can reach our goals only if we collaborate with each other. In that regard, we have started discussions with different local grower organisations and various research centres in order to follow a collaborative path towards the objective of broadening the territory of the bug’s antagonists”.

Eggs parasitised with Anastatus bifasciatus (the dark ones).

Agriculture will surely play a key role in the fight against this bug. However,  Halyomorpha  is so widespread that it may be equally useful to release  Anastatus  in the green areas surrounding the crops where the Asian bug hides and thrives when not attacking crops.

“Given the tests we ran”, continues Alessia Iacovone, ”the breeding of  Anastatus  sounds doable and promising. In the past, it was noticed it could parasitise the bug’s eggs, but not in such an effective manner. It is possible this wasp has been progressively learning how to counter this new bug’s strong defences. By breeding it in our biofactory and with massive launches into the wild we can speed up the natural control process. The introduction and spreading of the  Anastatus  will be very helpful for orchards but also for arable and vegetable crops.”

  • And Finally…Dogs detect malaria

Early results suggest that dogs can accurately identify the odour of malaria, opening up a new way to help fight the disease.

Presenting the results of the world’s first study into the ability of dogs to detect the odour of malaria at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Medical Detection Dogs Chief Executive Dr Claire Guest said, “this is the first time we have trained dogs to detect a parasite infection and we have had very positive results.”

Photo:Once Upon a Pixel

Our dogs, Labrador-Golden Retriever cross, Lexi and Labrador, Sally were able to correctly identify 70 per cent of the malaria-infected samples and 90 per cent of the samples without malaria parasites. Dr Guest said, “If this is what the dogs can do on a small piece of sock, I believe that detection levels could well exceed these results”.

Malaria is both preventable and curable and our research is aimed at harnessing the amazing power of a dog’s nose to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Dr Guest said “the challenge is to find a fast, non-invasive way of screening large numbers of people for malaria to prevent its spread into disease free areas. Our work has the potential to make this challenge a reality.”

The dogs were trained to distinguish between the scent of children infected with malaria parasites and those who were uninfected by sniffing socks worn for 24 hours by children in The Gambia which were then vacuum packed and sent to the UK.

It is known that malaria mosquitoes prefer feeding on patients carrying malaria parasites. Further evidence suggests that this is an odour-mediated phenomenon; people infected with malaria smell more attractive to mosquitoes than those that are not infected. We have shown that dogs can detect this odour.

The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was a collaboration between Medical Detection Dogs, Durham University, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Dundee (in the UK), the Medical Research Council Gambia Unit and the National Malaria Control Programme, in The Gambia.

Published in International Pest Control – November/December 2018 issue

 

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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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