Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Ever Use In Europe Of An Insect To Fight Invasive Plant Species

Date:
August 19, 2009
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Researchers have paved the way for the first ever use in Europe of an insect (biocontrol) to combat an invasive plant species in Britain. Biologists have established that the Japanese Knotweed in Britain was one the biggest females in the world -- a clone of cuttings brought into Britain in the 1850s. Costs of controlling it in Britain have been put at 1.5 billion.

Dr John Bailey of the Department of Biology.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

Researchers at the University of Leicester have paved the way for the first ever use in Europe of an insect (biocontrol) to combat an invasive plant species in Britain.

University of Leicester biologists established that the Japanese Knotweed in Britain was one the biggest females in the world- a clone of cuttings brought into Britain in the 1850s. Costs of controlling it in Britain have been put at 1.5 billion.

Defra's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) has now launched a public consultation exercise into plans to control the Japanese Knotweed using a highly specialist sap-sucking insect –or psyllid- called Aphalara itadori.

This follows a rigorous testing regime undertaken by the not-for-profit research organisation CABI at their quarantine laboratories, the purpose of which is to be as sure as possible that potential biocontrol organisms are restricted to Japanese Knotweed and cannot be tempted to stray onto related British plants or economically important species.

Lead scientist Dick Shaw said: “Using information compiled by scientists at the University of Leicester, Biocontrol experts at CABI were able to focus their collecting efforts on the precise region of Japan where the European clone of Japanese Knotweed originated.

“A number of Japanese invertebrates and micro organisms have been subjected to a rigorous testing regime. The aim of biological control is not to eradicate the target organism, but to weaken it so as to restrict spread and increase the effectiveness of other control measures (i.e less herbicide use).”

The psyllid doesn’t actually eat the plant, but sucks the sap like an aphid, and also produces vast numbers of offspring on Japanese Knotweed plants, which severely affect the morphology and vigour of the plant.

Dr Shaw added: “Since there has never been a release of a biocontrol agent for a plant species in Europe, extreme caution is being exercised by all concerned”. The proposed organism has now satisfied the scientific community that the proposed release under licence would be both safe and beneficial to the environment. On July 23 2009 the government inaugurated a public consultation on the release, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of this process, approval should be granted for the first releases in April 2010.

“Early releases would be made only under licence, and would be closely monitored, with appropriate contingency plans in place. At the point that the organism is declared to be ordinarily resident, anybody may move it between knotweed sites. Given the fact that our Japanese knotweed is a single clone I feel we have excellent prospects for the specific and effective control of Japanese Knotweed in Britain. “


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "First Ever Use In Europe Of An Insect To Fight Invasive Plant Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073926.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2009, August 19). First Ever Use In Europe Of An Insect To Fight Invasive Plant Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073926.htm
University of Leicester. "First Ever Use In Europe Of An Insect To Fight Invasive Plant Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073926.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins