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Biological control: not as simple as it seems

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Snow, E. L. and Day, M. (2017) Biological control: not as simple as it seems. In: 14th Queensland Weed Symposium, 4-7 December 2017, Port Douglas.

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While the results are generally well-known and, at times spectacularly successful, the process of exploration, importation and secure testing of insects and pathogens is lengthy and expensive. While the total cost of biocontrol in Queensland is difficult to estimate, it is likely to exceed $1M per annum on average. Queensland is very fortunate in having one of the world’s best biocontrol quarantine facilities at the EcoSciences Precinct, Brisbane. This paper takes a “behind the scenes sneak-peek” at this purpose-built facility, and documents the various challenges involved with biocontrol more generally. Containing potential agents in dedicated quarantine facilities is not a straight-forward activity, requiring user-training, strict protocols, regular audits and an intensive facility maintenance program. Once potential agents are imported, the testing required to ascertain host-specificity largely depends on the specific attributes of the insect or pathogen. However, the key factors involve studying the agents’ lifecycle, testing the non-target species most at risk of attack, replication of trials and investigation of any anomalies or off-target activity. Once all these factors are satisfied, an application seeking approval to release the insect can be submitted to the Australian Government (presently Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Department of Environment). Only after all these steps, can the department proceed to mass-rearing and field-release of a biological control agent.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Quarantine facility, QC3, biological control, host specificity testing
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Integrated weed control
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Live Archive:10 Jan 2018 05:11
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:51

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