Globally, insect resistance to insecticides is on the rise. Protecting crops, plant biotechnology and public health, requires insects to be monitored to fully understand resistance and extend crop-life viability.


SGS in Malaysia has established two new services to assist the agricultural industry – a bioassay testing service for insects and, together with logistic partners, a shipping service for sending insect samples to laboratories in the USA.

SGS has begun a bioassay testing service at its 2.88-hectare field trial station at Bertam, Kepala Batas, on Pulau Pinang, in north Peninsular Malaysia. The field station is established with both greenhouses and open field testing sites.

Insecticide resistance increases

Insecticides are grouped into 29 different modes of actions, depending on which physiological function they affect in the insect. To minimize resistance and protect crop product development, they should be used carefully, as part of a well-balanced, integrated management strategy. It is noted that, while insecticide resistance in insects is on the rise all over the world, in territories where several insecticides are employed at the same time, the insects are showing the most rapid development of resistant characteristics.

Potential insect resistance is often first noted when insecticide product users begin to report a loss of efficacy. When alternative causes have been eliminated, for example, incorrect application or severe climatic conditions, then it must be assumed the insect has developed a resistance to the insecticide.

Confirmed cases of insect resistance require thorough investigation. Specimens must be collected, sent to specialist laboratories, which will hatch them and then conduct bioassay testing or further molecular biological determinations. This will help identify the mechanism the insect is using to resist the insecticide. 

Successful live pest shipping

SGS has also successfully delivered a consignment of brown plant hoppers (BPH) (Nilaparvata lugens) from Malaysia to USA. Until now, shipping pests from Asia to the USA has presented several challenges to laboratories. Shipping requires the involvement of governmental bodies and logistical partners, with samples requiring quarantining, phytosanitary declarations and the correct transportation documentation. In addition, samples must be shipped in a way that will keep the insects alive, even if the consignment is delayed.

SGS’s first successful shipment was prepared using Oryza sativa as the host plant. Adult pregnant female BPH were introduced to the host plant for a period of 48-hours. This allowed them to lay their eggs, after which they were removed. The host plant, containing eggs, was then shipped to the US laboratory. During the transport period, the eggs hatched, meaning the US laboratory received a sample of live BPH nymphs, all at different developmental stages. The client noted that, despite transport delays, the BPH arrived in good condition due to the proper preparation of the sample by SGS.

SGS is committed to providing the agricultural industry with high-quality testing and certification services. With field trial operations established in 28 countries around the world, we perform a range of trials, including efficacy and residue, as well as e-fate testing. Globally, we are also establishing a number of sites for bioassay testing against pesticides and GM protein. 

For further information, please contact:

Isaac Leow 
Section Head – Seed & Crop 
t: +60(3) 2095 9200 

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.