Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2012
Publication Date: 11/1/2012
Citation: Jaronski, S. 2012. Microbial Control of Invertebrate Pests-Chapter 7. In : Sundh, I., Wilcks, A., and Goettel, M.S. Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture, Food and the Environment: Safety Assessment and Regulation. Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: CAB International. p. 72-95.
Technical Abstract: Arthropods, particularly insects, have a wide spectrum of microbial pathogens – viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, as well as entomopathogenic bacterium-nematode symbioses. All these categories of microorganisms have been commercialized to control arthropods. There are several hundred microbial products presently extant world-wide. In 2006 one industry trade group estimated the worldwide biopesticide market at approximately $541 million. By 2009 the total global biopesticide market market was estimated to be US$1.6 billion and predicted to increase to US$3.3 billion by 2014. Clearly the popularity of microorganisms to manage pest and plant disease problems has been growing. There are risks in using microbes to control arthropod pests. These are, after all, “animal pathogens.” Each group poses slightly different potential risks, based upon its biology and ecology. And, regardless of their characteristics, microbial arthropod control agents are regulated in almost all countries. With microbial agents the major risks are 1) risks to humans during production, and during and after application 2) direct risks to non-target organisms, especially beneficial insects, and 3) long-term effects on ecosystem services by natural enemies due to host depletion. This chapter, part of a larger work discussion safety assessment of beneficial microorganisms, concentrates on the strengths and weaknesses of microbial pest control agent risk assessment. Whether a substance poses a risk to humans or other organisms depends on two factors: how toxic (infectious, pathogenic) the substance is, and what is the degree of exposure to the microbial. Therefore, toxicity data and exposure data are considered in deciding whether to approve a pesticide for use. Human safety encompasses the infectivity, pathogenicity, irritation, sensitization, and allergenicity of a microbe. Ecological safety of MPCA by regulatory agencies is oriented towards risk assessment using representative birds, fish, aquatic/marine crustacean, and beneficial arthropods, the latter group almost always including honeybees. There has been some discussion about the applicability of such laboratory-based, acute-effects testing, for many insect pathogens, esp. in the EU, where the strictness of the regulations has been accused of being a major disincentive in the commercialization of microbial agents. In assessing the ecological risk of a microbial agent the testing data have to be coupled with the ecological context of use, the dispersal and persistence of the agent, the potential for permanent establishment, and the indirect as well as direct effects on non targets.