International research group helps advance phytosanitary research

Posted on Fri, 11 Oct 2019, 17:00

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Participants at the 2019 Phytosanitary Measures Research Group meeting in Cairns Australia. © FAO

27 September 2019, Cairns -The Phytosanitary Measures Research Group (PMRG) met from 24 to 27 September 2019 in Cairns, Australia. The PMRG - an independent organization of scientists, regulators and industry experts - provides scientific research and analysis that contributes to the development of phytosanitary treatments. The meeting was attended by 28 participants from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States of America and a representative from the IPPC Secretariat.

The PMRG has worked closely with the Technical Panel on Phytosanitary Treatments (TPPT) on several issues including standardizing approaches to treatment research; avoiding the duplication of efforts; and improving submissions to the TPPT. Two examples of their work include reviewing:

  • potential differences in cold tolerance among populations of Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata); and

  • the efficacy of cold treatments for different varieties of citrus fruits.

This work led to the adoption of several cold treatment proposals as phytosanitary treatments. These are included as annexes to ISPM 28 (Phytosanitary treatments for regulated pests).

Mr Peter LEACH, Chairperson of the PMRG, led the discussions. The group examined challenges such as differences in experimental designs; standards used to evaluate data; and criteria for adequate treatment research.

The group has also published guidelines for researchers on how to conduct phytosanitary treatment research of vapor heat and cold treatments. They also discussed research guidelines for fumigation; heat treatment of insects (other than fruit flies); controlled atmosphere treatments and hot water dipping.

The PMRG then discussed research reports on establishing generic cold treatments; research and regulatory issues around phytosanitary irradiation; interruption of temperature treatments; establishing and replenishing insect colonies for phytosanitary treatment research; and other challenges to phytosanitary treatment research. The meeting included a session on applying systems approaches.

The PMRG will continue to contribute to the work of the IPPC technical panels and to the Standards Committee’s work on developing phytosanitary measures.

If you are a researcher or regulator working in the area of phytosanitary treatments and want to be included in the group, please visit the PMRG webpage:

The full reports of the PMRG meetings, including the 2019 Cairns meeting which will soon be posted, are available at the same link.

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