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Resistance monitoring is fighting back against the increasing resilience shown by pests and plant diseases to crop protection products.

Agriculture production is impacted by more than 1,900 crop pests and pathogens worldwide.

Reduced agrochemical innovation and few new pesticides with new modes of action mean that some crop production is already becoming limited. For example, in many regions of the world, citrus production is struggling with a lack of protection against the vectors of citrus tristeza virus.

Air distributed fungal diseases are recognised as a major concern in resistance monitoring, due to their rapid distribution by wind and drift. New and vigorous pest variants are evolving as a result of increased populations and their rapid life cycles.

A lack of innovation means older pesticides are seeing something of a renaissance in some regions to tackle specific cropping conditions. New Azole formulations are allowing this older crop protection solution to be used against diseases.

Resistance Management

Resistance monitoring forms the basis for devising and implementing resistance management plans. National resistance management activities are not sufficient to combat the problem. Soil borne pathogens and insects can fly, or drift, over wider distances ignoring country boundaries. Resistance is a global phenomenon and can affect any country.

It is a legal obligation, in some places, to investigate the resistance situation prior to placing a new product on the market1. In Europe, information on the occurrence or possible occurrence of the development of resistance must be provided with each new pesticide application.

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides instruction on resistance management and labelling requirements2. For GM crops, the EPA has imposed an Insect Resistance Monitoring (IRM) programme.

Resistance monitoring requires two steps:

  • The sampling of the organism and its testing
  • The assessment of results, including the resistance mechanism and the resistance situation on population level per pest and disease/crop on country/registration zone level

The complexity and severity of the resistance situation cannot be underestimated. Providing information on resistance is a major task. Expert groups exist for:

  • Diseases: Fungicide Resistance Action Committee3
  • Pests: Insecticide Resistance Action Committee4
  • Weeds: Herbicide Resistance Action Committee5
  • Rodents: Rodenticides Resistance Action Committee6

Some countries also invest in national monitoring programmes, though others lack reliable monitoring data.

Resistance Management in Action

SGS has the largest field trial network in the world, extending to 28 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, China, Australia and Africa, delivering trials on many crops with a focus on new product development. In key regions, we offer resistance monitoring services on insects (for pesticides and GM crops), providing sampling and laboratory testing, including insect rearing and testing resistance under controlled conditions. For GM crops, the pests’ resistance to proteins the crop produces is measured.

Our resistance monitoring programme supports sustainable agriculture through sampling and testing.

Due to the variation in biological systems being much greater than in chemical analytical investigations, we standardise all procedures to ensure consistent, timely and accurate results.

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For further information, please contact:

Andreas Zumdick
Global Business Manager
Seed & Crop Services
SGS Germany GMBH
Im Maisel 14, 65232 Taunusstein
t: +49 40 30 10 17 16

Reference:

1 Official Journal of the European Union

2 Environmental Protection Agency

3 Fungicide Resistance Action Committee

4 IRAC

5 Herbicide Resistance Action Committee

6 Rodenticide Resistance Action Committee