Semiochemicals are substances that evoke behavioural or physiological responses. Pheromones modify the behaviour of other individuals of the same species, while allelochemicals act on individuals of different species. Pheromones are used in plant protection (i) to interfere with the mating behaviour of pests (‘mating disruption’), (ii) to attract pests to insecticidal traps or baits (‘attract and kill’), (iii) to trap pests (‘mass trapping’), and (iv) to monitor pest populations. Semiochemicals present a particular case among active ingredients used in plant protection products, as they are the only substances not intended to kill the pest organism directly. The current regulatory system for pesticides is often seen as a major hurdle for the market introduction of new semiochemicals. The EU-funded Specific Support Action project ‘REBECA’ has held a series of workshops with stakeholder representatives. The following proposals for improvement were elaborated: (1) collective listing of the ‘straight-chained lepidopteran pheromones’ (SCLPs) in Annex I of directive 91/414/EEC; (2) treating SCLPs as ‘low risk’ substances under the new pesticides legislation; (3) relaxations concerning the identification of impurities; (4) more flexibility in the number of samples to be analysed; (5) facilitations in the risk assessment of SCLPs; (6) a procedure which will lead to facilitations in the risk assessment of other semiochemicals in the long term; (7) flexibility in efficacy evaluation; (8) harmonisation of registration requirements. During the final conference of the REBECA project, it was discussed whether the REBECA proposals can be implemented easily, and therefore in a short time-span. Also, the impact on the duration of the registration process and on the costs of registration (for the applicant) was assessed for each proposal. Among the proposals that were evaluated as relatively easy to implement, collective listing of SCLPs, relaxations concerning the identification of impurities and flexibility in efficacy evaluation have the greatest potential impact. All proposals which were evaluated as more difficult to implement have a great potential impact, but harmonisation of registration would reduce costs much more than any other proposal.
- Plant protection
- Registration requirements
- Straight-chained lepidopteran pheromones (SCLPs)
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REBECA aims to find proposals which are based on a broad consensus in the workshops, but does not claim that all participants agree with all proposals.
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We gratefully acknowledge the contribution from many colleagues who provided their expertise within the ‘semiochemicals working group’ of the REBECA project. The Specific Support to Policy Action REBECA (‘Regulation of Biological Control Agents’) was funded by the European Commission (SSPE-CT-2005-022709). For details see project website http://www.rebeca-net.de.
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Speiser, B., Tamm, L., Mattock, S. (2011). Proposals for Regulation of Semiochemicals. In: Ehlers, RU. (eds) Regulation of Biological Control Agents. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3664-3_15
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