Submitted to: Assessment of Environmental Safety of Biological Insecticides
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2003
Publication Date: 12/15/2003
Citation: JARONSKI, S., GOETTEL, M.S., LOMER, C.J. REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR ECOTOXICOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS OF MICROBIAL INSECTICIDES - HOW RELEVANT ARE THEY?. Assessment of Environmental Safety of Biological Insecticides. Hokkanen, H. and Hayek, A., editors. 2003.
Interpretive Summary: We examine how regulatory requirements address the environmental risks posed by microbial control agents of invertebrate pests. We present examples of how data obtained under laboratory conditions are not necessarily useful in predicting the risks under field use, drawing upon original data regarding effects of Beauveria bassiana Strain GHA on honeybees, aphelinid parasitoids of whiteflies, and Heteropteran and Neuropteran predator of whiteflies in cotton. As a result of our experience, we question the approach and need for extensive laboratory evaluations as far as risk to non-target invertebrates are concerned. The chapter also summarizes in detail non-target data requirements in the U.S., European Union, and Japan.
Technical Abstract: It is imperative to ascertain long-term environmental risks a priori, before registering every product. It goes without saying that, as a minimum, the product must undergo the vertebrate toxicology testing to ensure safety to the applicator and eventually the consumer. But what would be the worst case scenario if an indigenous microorganism were registered with minimal laboratory testing of its host range as far as invertebrate non-target organisms are concerned? Experience to date indicates that any adverse effects, should they occur, are likely to be reversible, and could be eliminated if necessary by simply terminating use of the microbial control agent. To substantiate our points we draw on comparisons of laboratory and field data regarding the effect of Beauveria bassiana GHA on honeybees, on parasitoids of whiteflies, and on the heteropteran and neuropteran predators in cotton. In all cases the laboratory data predicted far greater adverse impacts of the fungus on non-targets than was experienced in the field tests. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that an indigenous pathogen would permanently establish itself in a non-target population simply because it was applied innundatively. The greatest risk of using microbial control agents is likely to be long term and indirect through depletion of the target hosts, and such effects can only be determined through long-term use and monitoring. Therefore the answer to our question would seem to be that minimal non-target testing be required for registration of indigenous microorganisms.