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The European Biological Control Laboratory: an existing infrastructure for biological control of weeds in Europe

Jones, W.A., Sforza, R.
Bulletin OEPP 2007 v.37 no.1 pp. 163-165
Agricultural Research Service, Anoplophora glabripennis, Arundo donax, Bactrocera oleae, Centaurea, Dipsacus, Isatis tinctoria, Lygus, Pseudococcidae, Taeniatherum, Vincetoxicum, agricultural research, biological control, biological control agents, entomology, insect pests, invasive species, mites, molecular biology, natural enemies, pathogens, pest control, plant pathology, predators, quarantine, research programs, vines, weed control, weeds, France, United States
The Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has maintained a continuous European effort in classical biological control of exotic pests in the USA. The European Parasite Laboratory was established in France in 1919, while the European Weed Laboratory began operations in Rome in 1958. The two laboratories were merged in Montpellier in 1991 as the European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL), becoming the primary overseas biocontrol laboratory of the USDA. The management of weeds, insect pests, and pathogens is an important feature of agricultural research programmes worldwide. These invasive species can lead to vast financial losses for countries engaged in agriculture. The overall goal of research at EBCL is to develop biological control technologies to be used to suppress invading weeds and insect pests. This is done through expeditions to find natural enemies (insects, mites and pathogens), or phytophagous, parasitoid or predator species. These are characterized in careful experimentation in quarantine facilities and eventually developed as biological control agents. Current weed projects include studies on the Centaurea spp., Arundo donax, Vincetoxicum spp., Isatis tinctoria, Taeniatherum sp. and Dipsacus sp. Insect projects research Lygus bugs, the olive fruit fly, the vine mealybug, and the Asian long-horned beetle. The EBCL team is international and interdisciplinary. Entomology, plant and insect pathology, molecular biology and ecology are the main approaches of our biocontrol research. The team cooperates with universities and agencies worldwide.