Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Selection of potential biological control agents based on (a) ecological data collected and (b) results of host range screening tests and subsequent risk-benefit assessment

The studies carried out eliminated most of the potential biological control agents from further consideration, and none studied could be selected for use as biological control agnets.

Elimination of these potential biological control agents means that any further efforts towards classical biological control will need to focus on agents not studied in sufficient detail, or new agents from other parts of the native range of Heracleum not accessible to the project (i.e. NW Georgia). The lack of success over the three field seasons of the project mean that success with these tactics is less likely, and so funding to complete the investigation will be difficult to come by. There is a risk that if further funding is not secured to follow this up, unanswered questions will remain.

The conclusion that nothing suitable for exploitation as a biological control agent is a startling one, and most unusual for a weed biological control project. We are still considering possible explanations for this. It also became apparent during the project that classical biological control using pathogens is inadvertently blocked by the wording of EU Directive 91/414. In light of this, project participants were able to feed this concern into plans to respond to an EU Concerted Action call to consider revision of the directive.

Since at this point, there is no immediate scope for classical biological control, research to assess the potential for an augmentative approach using a mycoherbocide should be accorded a higher priority.

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