Biosecurity and Trade

Biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach to analyzing and managing relevant risks to human, animal and plant life and health and associated risks to the environment. Interest in biosecurity has risen considerably over the last decade in parallel with increasing trade in food, plant and animal products, more international travel, new outbreaks of transboundary disease affecting animals, plants and people, heightened awareness of biological diversity and greater attention to the environment and the impact of agriculture on environmental sustainability.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTSs) need to position themselves to take advantage of trading opportunities, while protecting their natural resource base from potential risks.
SPC collaborates with the University of Guam on Mikania micrantha biocontrol project
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 13:30

The rust, Puccinnia spegazzinii, was successfully released and established in Fiji as a biocontrol agent for the weed Mikania micrantha, commonly known as mile-a-minute. The University of Guam sought assistance from SPC in late 2011 and after some collaboration, it was agreed that SPC would provide them with the biocontrol agent for the project.

After a couple of staff turn-overs at the university, the project finally came under the supervision of Dr Ross Miller, who contacted SPC late last year and visited Fiji in early February to look at the rust establishment in the field and inoculation techniques in the screen house. Dr Ross took back with him a couple of inoculum, along with the inoculated plants from SPC. The rust was successfully, infected onto the Guam plants, but Dr Miller and his technician were keen to receive some hands-on technical assistance on the rearing and inoculation procedures, as they were yet to be able to correctly identify the infections on the tissues.

In February, SPC Pest List Database Technician, Ana Tunabuna-Buli  went to Guam and assisted in training Dr Miller and the technician in the method of transferring infestations of the rust and how to handle them, both in the laboratory and field.

Sites for future releases were also visited and new ones were identified. The importance of planting and maintaining clean healthy plants in the screen house was re-emphasised, and a copy of the rearing procedures were provided to staff for future reference.

The trip provided the much needed assistance to the University on the rearing and handling procedures of the biocontrol agent, in order to get it successfully established in the field. By also providing them with infected inoculum, the chances of getting the culture established in the laboratory was maximised, giving them enough of the biocontrol agent to rear in their post entry quarantine.

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