Plant Health

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Changed on: 29.11.2019
Apfelwickler_Raupe im Kerngehäuse

The production of healthy plants is essential for the manufacturing of high-quality foods. The Institute for Sustainable Plant Production addresses a variety of issues relating to plant health maintenance.

The institute creates the conditions necessary for prophylactic plant health assurance by protecting Austrian plant production from the introduction and spread of dangerous quarantine pests (QP).


Since August 2019 AGES, together with its French sister organisation ANSES, has been the European Reference Laboratory for Plant Health - Insects and Mites.

Apfelwickler_Raupe im Kerngehäuse

The production of healthy plants is essential for the manufacturing of high-quality foods. The Institute for Sustainable Plant Production addresses a variety of issues relating to plant health maintenance.

The institute creates the conditions necessary for prophylactic plant health assurance by protecting Austrian plant production from the introduction and spread of dangerous quarantine pests (QP).


Since August 2019 AGES, together with its French sister organisation ANSES, has been the European Reference Laboratory for Plant Health - Insects and Mites.

Official Plant Protection Service

The risk of introducing pests into Europe and, subsequently, Austria has increased in the last two decades as a result of growth in global trade, rapid transportation systems and the effects of climate change. Laws at international (IPPC and European Union) and national (Plant Protection Act 2011) levels detail the measures put in place to counteract the introduction and spread of such quarantine pests.

The responsibilities of the Official Plant Protection Service (Amtlicher Pflanzenschutzdienst) comprises administrative and coordinating activities in phytosanitary control.

Further information on the Official Plant Protection Service can be found under Phytosanitary Service.

 

 

Contact

Official Plant Protection Service
Phone: +43 5 0555 33301
Fax: +43 5 0555 33303
Spargelfeldstrasse 191
1220 Wien



Official Plant Protection Service
Phone: +43 5 0555 33301
Fax: +43 5 0555 33303
Spargelfeldstrasse 191
1220 Wien



QSO

Quarantäneschadorganismen (QSO) sind Organismen mit potentieller Schadwirkung auf Pflanzen in gefährdeten Gebieten, in denen sie bisher noch nicht auftreten oder dort nicht weit verbreitet sind.

Es können Organismen aller Arten, Stämme oder Biotypen von Pflanzen, Tieren oder Krankheitserregern (Bakterien, Pilze oder Viren) sein, die an Pflanzen große wirtschaftliche Schäden anrichten.

Durch deren Einschleppung über den Handel und Verkehr und die Verbreitung stellen sie ein hohes Risiko für unsere Land- und Forstwirtschaft dar.

Das Verbringen von Quarantäneschadorganismen ist verboten und sie dürfen weder auf Pflanzen und pflanzlichen Produkten, noch auf sonstigen Gegenständen (z.B. Verpackungen) eingeschleppt werden. Ihre Ausbreitung ist mit geeigneten amtlichen Maßnahmen zu bekämpfen.

Das Auftreten von Quarantäneschadorganismen ist beim Amtlichen Pflanzenschutzdienst des betreffenden Bundeslandes meldepflichtig (Kontakte APSD Länder).

Rechtliche Grundlagen hierzu sind das Pflanzenschutzgesetz 2011 idgF., das Pflanzgutgesetz 1997 idgF. und ggf. das Saatgutgesetz 1997 idgF.

Der Amtliche Pflanzenschutzdienst koordiniert österreichweit die Angelegenheiten im Bereich QSO.

Das Institut für Nachhaltige Pflanzenproduktion ist nationales Referenzlabor für pflanzliche Quarantäneschadorganismen in Österreich mit hoher Kompetenz in

  • Identifikation und Diagnostik von Quarantäneschaderregern mit anerkannten und akkreditierten Methoden gemäß ISO 17025 (z. B.:  Feuerbrand, u.v.a.)
  • Forschung auf dem Gebiet phytosanitär regulierter und nicht regulierter QSO und anderer Schaderreger (z. B. Maiswurzelbohrer)
  • EU-Monitorings gemäß EU-Richtlinien und EU-Entscheidungen
  • Invasive Pflanzen
  • Pest-Risiko-Analyse-Studien 

Umfangreiche Referenzsammlungen tierischer und pflanzlicher Schadorganismen ergänzen die Diagnostik.

Das Institut für Nachhaltige Pflanzenproduktion ist amtlich anerkannte Versuchseinrichtung für Labor-, Glashaus- und Freilandtestungen von Pflanzenschutzmitteln.

Invasive Plants

The discovery of the New World in 1492 marked a turning point in agriculture. Exotic plants (neophytes) were able to overcome bio-geographical borders with the help of humans making their way to Europe (and vice versa to America). The conscious importing of plants was and still is the most common way to bring exotic plants to Europe, mostly for economic reasons: new species for agriculture, forestry, parks or fish tanks. At present, rapidly growth in global trade and transportation is a major contributor to the inadvertent introduction of non-indigenous species, in addition to species that are imported consciously.

Quick search "Invasive plants" in the AGES pest database

Ecological, economic and health-related effects

The vast majority of exotic plants integrate into the local flora without any problems. However, some species can cause considerable damage in their new habitat. These plants can repress indigenous species and change the structure and function of ecological systems in the  long-term. These non-indigenous plants -- also referred to as “invasive” plants -- are considered the second largest threat to biological diversity at present. Moreover, such non-indigenous plants may cause considerable commercial damage -- e.g. in agriculture -- or pose a threat to human health.

Situation in Austria

There are currently about 1,100 non-indigenous plant species in Austria. Approximately one fifth of these species has been able to gain a permanent foothold in the wild. At present, 17 species are classified as invasive from an environmental perspective. These include the tree of heaven (ailanthus altissima) and the black locust or false acacia (robinia pseudoacacia). A further 18 species are considered potentially invasive and are likely to cause ecological problems should they continue to spread. Invasive, non-indigenous plants mostly invade habitats such as wetlands, tall forb meadows and the dry locations of the Pannonian region.

Blüten vom Götterbaum

While the occurrence of the tree of heaven is more of a nuisance than a problem in urban areas, it is alarming that this tree could invade the wetlands along the Danube River in the warm-summered east.

New invasive weed species in agriculture

There are several problematic species in agriculture, too. Some of them have become a permanent part of the local weed flora over the decades, while others have arrived more recently. One example of an “established” weed species is the red-root amaranth or common tumbleweed (Amaranthus retroflexus). This plant originated in the central and eastern regions of the USA and in northeast Mexico. It is believed that LINNAEUS introduced this species in around 1750 to cultivate it at the botanical garden in Uppsala. In western Europe, this species first occurred subspontaneously in Paris in 1783 and spread rapidly over wide areas of Europe and to Austria from about 1800 onwards. On the other hand, the appearance of new, often warmth-loving weeds has been observed to an increasing degree in agriculture. Such plants include nut grass (Cyperus esculentus), goosegrass (Eleusine indica), velvet weed (Abutilon theophrasti) and the Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes).

Erdmandelgras Bluete

Introduced via building machines – nut grass

The plant is found in many agricultural cultures and is very difficult to control.

 

 

Globalisation and Climate Change

It is a fact that new species will be added to the current list on an ongoing basis. There are many reasons for this: introduction via contaminated seed material, traded goods and vehicles, or ornamental plants that have spread into the wild. Another cause not to be underestimated is climate change. It facilitates the appearance of new weed species that are indigenous to the meridional-subtropical regions in Austria. However, many long established, warmth-loving species that are currently only found in specific regions in Austria will also benefit, such as the common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), for instance. This plant is currently limited to Austria’s warmer lowlands. A more rapid spread of this species into other areas of Austria is expected as a result of climate change.

Further information, fact sheets and databases on invasive, non-indigenous plants in Austria and Europe

Research/Science

Project "FF IPM" - Fruit Flies In-silico

Three immigrated fruit fly species pose an immediate threat to European fresh fruit production (mainly peaches and citrus fruits). The aim of the project is to develop innovative measures to prevent the introduction of infested fruits, to locate populations in the early stages of invasion and to establish biological control and response strategies.

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Project "ElatPro"

 "Spotting the needle in a haystack: Predicting wireworm activity in top soil for integrated pest management in arable crops"
Project title: ERA-NET C-IPM
Project Coordinator: Mag. Katharina Wechselberger
Project duration: October 2016 - October 2019

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Archive Research Projects

Archive Research Projects 2004 - 2014

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Scientific support

Research topics "Sustainable Plant Production" and Plant Protection

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AGES - European Union Reference Laboratory for Insects and Mites

The EU-Control Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/625) regulates, in addition to other legal areas such as food and feed, animal health and plant protection, official controls and other official activities in the field of plant health for the first time.

The aim of this regulation is to improve controls in the EU and to raise them to a uniform level and to deliver reliable and, above all, comparable results within the EU.

The European Reference Laboratories (EU-RLs) represent a unique platform for the exchange of information on diagnostic methods and quality assurance tools for control laboratories. Together with the network of National Reference Laboratories (NRLs), they have a pool of knowledge and facilities that best qualify them to address new plant health challenges.

Five pest categories

To achieve these objectives, reference laboratories for five plant pest categories were appointed by the European Commission on 1 August 2019:

  • EU Directive on Bacteria
  • EU-RL for mushrooms and egg mushrooms
  • EU-RL for viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas
  • EU-RL for nematodes
  • EU directive for insects and mites

AGES, together with its French sister organisation ANSES, received the mandate for insects and mites. AGES thus became a European reference laboratory for the first time.

 

Tasks of the European Reference Laboratories Plant Health

European reference laboratories developeand validate analytical methods, carry out arbitral analyses, advise the European Commission and support national reference laboratories.

  • The National Reference Laboratories receive detailed information on diagnostic methods and the EU Directives provide reference material for them. This contributes to European standardisation of diagnostic methods and ensures that the quality of analytical data obtained in the different NRLs is comparable.
  • This ensures the quality of the data obtained in the various laboratories, which are also required for European risk assessments (e.g. Pest Risk Assessment).
  • Training will be provided for NRL staff and experts from third countries; improving technical expertise will also improve the quality of the diagnosis.
  • Provision of scientific and technical support to the European Commission (e.g. when a new pest occurs in a Member State).

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Insects and Mites


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