Dealing with the problem of insects in seed lots: GEVES in action
The relationship between insect pests and seeds is an increasing problem. The control of these insects is becoming more and more complex due to global issues such as the increase in trade between countries, climate change, the determination to move towards a more environmentally sustainable agriculture…
For insects, the plant is either part of the food chain or a mandatory host. Damage caused by insects in the field and/or during storage can have a very significant impact on the economy, the environment and food safety. In addition, seeds can become important vectors for the spread of insects.
For this reason, restrictions imposed by countries on the import of seed lots are becoming stricter and stricter in order to prevent the import of poor-quality seed lots infested with non-endemic and/or invasive insect species. However, currently the ISTA rules do not provide for methods to respond to these demands.
For this purpose, a research project funded by ISTA and bringing together several international partners (including GEVES-SNES and ANSES-LSV) starts in 2021. The aim of the project is to research effective methods for detecting and monitoring the presence of insects in seed lots.
The first step is to identify the needs of laboratories, regulatory bodies and stakeholders regarding seed-associated insects. In combination with a bibliographic survey of existing methods, decisions will be made on the choice of seed-insect combinations and preliminary tests will be carried out on a limited number of species. Different insect detection and identification techniques will be investigated using the same seed lots for all the different techniques.
This work may then lead to the proposal of methods for integration into the ISTA Rules and/or the writing of official methods by GEVES in its role as NRL Plant Health on bruchids.