2014-2015 Lunch and Learn Webinar Series

Co-Sponsored by ABC Laboratories

Organized by:  John Clark, Univ. Massachusetts, Amherst; Steven Duke, USDA-ARS; Julie Eble, Critical Path Services, Cody Howard, California Air Resources Board, Laura McConnell, Bayer CropScience

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Webinar Recordings

This webinar was presented on April, 1 2015.  Click on the title below to hear a recording and view slides of both presentations.

Acceptance of Biotech in Specialty Crops

Kent BradfordRegulatory and Commercialization Issues for Genetically Engineered Specialty Crops
Dr. Kent J. Bradford, University of California, Davis

Dr. Bradford is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. In 1999 he founded the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center and continues to serve as its director.  Dr. Bradford’s research has spanned diverse areas of seed science from seed germination and conservation to mathematical modeling and molecular biology. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed research and extension articles and book chapters.  His current interests are in the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating seed germination, in mechanisms of seed deterioration and methods to extend seed longevity, and in mathematical models to describe seed germination and dormancy behavior.

Specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts, ornamentals and turf grasses, are important components of human diets and provide environmental amenities. Such crops represent ~40% of total agricultural receipts in the U.S., despite being cultivated on just 4% of the total cropped area. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a number of genetically engineered (GE) specialty crops were under development and the first commercialized GE food was a slower softening tomato. However, while GE field crops, such as soybean, maize, cotton and canola, have come to dominate production in countries where they have been released, only a few GE specialty crop varieties are currently marketed, and as a group, GE specialty crops have garnered limited market share. The exception is GE papaya engineered for resistance to papaya ringspot virus, which now represents 90% of Hawaii’s crop but is also being targeted by local initiatives to limit its cultivation. What is responsible for this disparity in the commercialization of GE field crops versus specialty crops? A review of the scientific and regulatory literature indicates that it is not due to a lack of demonstrated candidate traits. Instead, it appears that the costs of gaining regulatory approval, marketing restrictions (particularly internationally), lack of consumer acceptance, active political opposition, and other considerations are responsible. These issues and recent developments in GE specialty crops will be discussed.

Jennifer ArmenExamining the Consumer Research on Biotech Crop Acceptance

Jennifer Armen, Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Jennifer Armen is a 30-year specialty crop industry veteran.  Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont and her Master of Science from North Carolina State University.  Originally trained as a botanist and plant pathologist, she spent the first half of her career in the post-harvest crop protection industry, culminating in managing Pace International’s global post-harvest business.  Moving into the vegetable seed industry, Jennifer was instrumental in the establishment of the entity that became Dulcinea Farms, which launched PureHeart® personal sized watermelon, and spurred attention from the entire supply chain about the value of genetics beyond the farm gate. Active on multiple industry association boards and committees, today she works as Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ Marketing Director.

A great deal of research examining consumer awareness and acceptance of biotech crops has been carried out over the last decade. One of the key findings has been that, while public awareness of the science behind biotech crops is low, when consumers recognize that a biotech enhancement results in clear, tangible benefits for themselves and the environment, their views become much more favorable. We overview research from groups like the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and market research carried out on our recently deregulated non-browning Arctic® apples, including an examination of what factors and experiences lead consumers to positive impressions.

This webinar was presented on October 15, 2014.  Click on the title below to hear a recording and view slides of the presentation.

Carbon dioxide, climate change, pest biology, and management: A new paradigm for the 21st Century

Dr. Lewis Ziska, USDA-ARS
October 15, 2014 at 12:00PM Eastern US Time

Lewis ZiskaThe ongoing increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will have abiotic and biotic effects through changes in surface temperatures, and direct stimulation of plant growth. These effects in turn, will alter the establishment, distribution, and impact of biological pests, (insects, disease, and weeds). Such impacts are likely to alter both the productivity and sustainability of managed eco-systems, as in agriculture or forestry, but also less managed systems (grasslands, wetlands) through changes in the biology of invasive species. Recent research has focused on increasing our understanding of the basis for expected and observed changes in both native and exotic pest species with CO2 and climate change; the probable impacts to agricultural productivity and natural habitat; and the consequences regarding the detection and management of these changes.

Dr. Ziska has published over 100 peer-reviewed research articles related to climate change and rising carbon dioxide. His diverse research interests have included agriculture and food security, weeds and weed management, invasive species, plant biology, and public health. Dr. Ziska is a recent contributor to the 2014 International Panel on Climate Change report (Food Security Chapter) and the 2014 National Climate Assessment. His work has been featured in the popular media including USA Today, CBS Nightly News, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, Esquire magazine honored Dr. Ziska with the Best and Brightest award.

This webinar was presented on November 5, 2014.  Click on the title below to hear a recording and view slides of the webinar.

How sample mass and particle size affects the uncertainty of your analytical measurements

Jo Marie Cook, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Jo Marie CookJo Marie Cook received her degree in chemistry from Michigan State University and has been working in food safety for over 30 years.  She has been Bureau Chief for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since 2005.  With a staff of 30 scientists and 7 field inspectors, the Bureau conducts sampling and trace level analyses of pesticides in fruits and vegetables for regulatory enforcement of federal pesticide regulations and  for the USDA Pesticide Data Program.

In response to the Food Safety Modernization Act, federal and state agencies across the U.S. are developing criteria for sharing food and feed safety regulatory data. Guidance and training is needed to provide accuracy of food/feed sampling activities supporting regulatory programs and consistency in sampling protocols among agencies. This presentation will explore what is known about sampling quality, what available data can be used to estimate the error in sampling, what quality control should be added to sampling programs to estimate sampling error and recommendations for the future.

This webinar was presented on December 3, 2014.  Click on the title below to hear a recording of the webinar and view the slides.

Bee and Bee Tests

Reed JohnsonMethods for determining the effect of pesticide exposure on bees.
Dr. Reed Johnson, Ohio State University

Reed M. Johnson, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University – Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio.  Dr. Johnson received a B.A. from Wabash College, a M.S. from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research focuses on determining how bees are exposed to pesticides and what effect exposure to pesticides has on the health of honey bees and other pollinators.  He has published over 20 peer-reviewed papers on bees and bee health.  He teaches courses in pesticide science and beekeeping at Ohio State.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, as many new pesticide chemistries were being developed, the acute hazard to adult bees could be predicted and incorporated into pesticide label guidelines.  While the LD50 continues to be a useful measure of pesticide toxicity to individual adult bees, there has been a growing realization that decisions based on this statistic alone do not consider the effects that exposure to a pesticide may have on the hive as a whole. Some pesticides may have a greater effect on immature bees than on adults. Pesticides may have different effects on the reproductive castes in a bee colony – the queen and drones – and the colony’s long-term ability to grow.  Pesticide exposure may affect the performance of bees in a way that is not acutely lethal, but which may reduce a bees’ lifespan, affect its ability to do useful work, or increase its susceptibility to pests and pathogens.  It might seem obvious that the simplest approach to all of these new questions would be to perform field tests of pesticides on whole bee colonies, but the complexities of bee biology and the challenges of beekeeping conspire to make field tests far from simple.

Lukas_JekerPesticide Risk Assessment: Update of the latest laboratory ring test results with bumble bee and solitary bees
Lukas Jeker, Dr. Knoell Consult GmbH
(Co-authors, Lea Franke, Christina Rehberg, Carsten A. Brühl, Universität Koblenz-Landau)

Lukas joined the Knoell group in 2013 after working 22 years as team leader, study director and research technician, in the field of terrestrial ecotoxicology in R&D agrochemical companies and contract research organizations conducting lower and higher tier regulatory studies with non-target arthropods.  An educated beekeeper, he became specialized in the field of regulatory studies with bees. He is a member and expert of international panels and working groups and has actively participated on international ring tests. Hence, he has extensive knowledge in regulatory studies with pollinators, study design, method development and trial methodology

The vast majority of pollinators are non-Apis bees with approximately 70 bumblebee species and more than 600 solitary bee species listed in Europe. In consequence, the proposed EFSA bee risk assessment procedure for registration of plant protection products strives to take all bee species into consideration. This resulted in a need for new methodologies for lower and higher tier studies with solitary bees and bumble bees. At the SETAC Brussels meeting in October 2013, the working group Non Apis started. The approach was to conduct an international ring-test on agreed protocols for acute contact and oral laboratory studies with bumble bees and solitary bees. In this context, an acute contact toxicity tests with several European Non-Apis bee species of the agricultural landscape were conducted to obtain information on the inter-species sensitivity of Non-Apis and Apis mellifera. Additionally, the relationship between Non-Apis bee size and sensitivity was examined. Furthermore a semi-field method with the solitary bee species Osmia bicornis, the red mason bee, using micro tunnels with a crop area of 18 m2 per tunnel was designed and conducted. Main objective was to examine whether the limited food supply (nectar and honey) is sufficient for a reliable reproduction phase.

This webinar was presented on February 4, 2015.  Click on the title below to hear a recording of the webinar and view the slides.

Molecular Approaches in the Elucidation of Insecticide Mode of Action and Resistance Mechanisms

Nauen_Ralf_2011_croppedMolecules, monitoring, mechanisms, and management:  failure and success
Dr. Ralf Nauen, Bayer CropScience

Dr. Nauen is a Bayer CropScience Research Fellow working in Monheim, Germany.  He is is the recipient of the 2014 ACS International Award for Research in Agrochemicals. He is
internationally recognized for his research in insect toxicology and resistance, which has focused on insecticide mode of action and insecticide and acaricide resistance mechanisms and management.

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is a crop of global economic importance. Particularly in Europe, winter oilseed rape cultivation exploded in the 1990s, and it is now grown on several million hectares representing 30% of the worldwide production. Along with the expansion of winter oilseed rape acreage in Europe, coleopteran pests also became more widespread, leading to an annual invasion of this crop by billions of beetles of the genus Meligethes (pollen beetle). Over the years this European mega pest developed widespread, high metabolic P450-driven resistance to a major chemical class of insecticides, the pyrethroids. Although new modes of action have been introduced for Meligethes control, selection pressure by pyrethroids remains high for various reasons. The paper reviews ten years of research on molecules, monitoring, mechanisms and management conducted to investigate a remarkable case of resistance evolution that has spread throughout an entire continent. From both fundamental and applied aspects it is an exciting case study exemplifying both failure and success in insecticide resistance management in modern applied entomology.

Chris BassA genomic approach to understanding insecticide resistance in the peach potato aphid, Myzus persicae
Dr. Chris Bass, Rothamsted Research

Dr. Bass is a Principal Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research in United Kingdom working on metabolic resistance to xenobiotics in a range of important crop pests and beneficial insects.  He received a degree in Biology from University of Nottingham his Ph.D. in insect molecular biology from Rothamstead Resarch/Nottingham University in 2004.  His research focuses on characterising the mechanisms of insecticide resistance in agricultural and human health pests using a range of molecular and genomic approaches, and the relationship between insecticide resistance and host adaptation.

The peach potato aphid, Myzus persicae is the most economically important aphid pest worldwide. This species is globally distributed and highly polyphagous with a host range of over 400 species including many economically important crop plants. The intensive use of insecticides to control this species over many years has led to populations that are resistant to almost all classes of insecticide. Work spanning >40 years has shown that M. persicae has a remarkable potential for rapid adaptive change with at least seven mechanisms of resistance described in this species to date. The remarkable array of novel resistance mechanisms, including several ‘first examples’, that have evolved in this species represents an important case study for the development of insecticide resistance and also rapid adaptive change in insects more generally. I will outline the insights study of this topic has provided on the evolution of resistance mechanisms, the selectivity of insecticides, and the link between resistance and host plant adaptation with a particular emphasis on recent work elucidating the molecular basis of resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides.

This webinar was presented on March 4, 2015. Click on the title below to hear a recording of the webinar and view the slides.

Biopesticides: Navigating the Regulatory Landscape in the European Union and the United States

Dr. Russ JonesBiopesticides in the U.S.: Classification & Regulatory Processes
Dr. Russell Jones, USEPA

Biopesticides are distinguished from conventional chemical pesticides by their natural occurrence, minimal toxicity to humans and the environment, and low volume use.  They include biochemical and microbial pesticides and the Plant-Incorporated Protectants.  A standard tiered risk assessment paradigm of analyzing hazards and exposures is used to assess pesticidal risks to human health and the environment.  Potential risks are determined first from estimates of hazard and exposure under “worst-case” scenarios (Tier I).  Subsequent testing (Tiers II, III and IV) may be required to assess adverse effects under more realistic conditions, or when lower-tiered studies suggest potentially unacceptable risks.  Risk assessments are developed from a synthesis of test results, intended uses and the open literature to fulfill data requirements that address the primary disciplines of product chemistry and manufacturing, mammalian health and ecological effects.  The US EPA has over 20 years of regulatory experience in preparing risk assessments to support the registration of biopesticides.  The presentation will provide an overview of biopesticides, the tiered risk assessment approach, and statutes governing pesticide registration in the U.S.

Dr. Jones has a strong background in research and the field application of pesticides and plant regulators.  He received a B.A. in Biology from Mansfield University, a M.S. in Crop Science, with a minor in Soil Science from N.C. State University, and a Ph.D. in Agronomy & Crop Physiology from the University of Arkansas.  He has conducted human health and ecotoxicity  risk assessments on conventional chemicals and biopesticides for over 20 years in both private and government sectors.  Dr. Jones joined the Office of Pesticide Programs of US EPA in 1997 and currently is the Senior Biologist in the Biochemical Pesticides Branch (BPB) of the Biopesticides & Pollution Prevention Division.  As Senior Biologist, he conducts risk assessments and reviews of product chemistry, human health, ecotoxicity, and product performance studies and supervises the scientific reviews conducted by BPB staff.  Since 1999, he has been Chair of the Biochemical Classification Committee which reviews information on new pesticide active ingredients to determine if they meet the statutory criteria for classification as Biochemical pesticides.

Dr. Matthias Weidenauer Registration of Bio-pesticides in Europe under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 and its difference to the US procedure
Dr. Matthias Weidenauer, Battelle

The registration of bio-pesticides in Europe is burdened by a regulatory framework that had originally been designed for chemical active substances. Unlike the position in the US, the EU has no separate legal provisions for “non-chemical” plant protection products. The result is a set of data requirements that is partly inappropriate or difficult to interpret for bio-pesticide active substances such as micro-organisms.  In addition there is a lack of EU and OECD test guidelines for the conduction of toxicological and eco-toxicological studies with micro-organisms. Specific guidance documents from the European Commission are scarce, with several of them being published only as recently as December 2014. Whilst having ostensibly similar formal data requirements to the US, the data required to achieve authorization of the same strain in the EU tend to be more extensive which leads to significantly higher investment costs. Higher costs combined with a slower approval system, the EU presents a significant hurdle for bio-pesticides entering the market. Some of the specific requirements, issues and endeavours to improve and harmonize the global registration system for bio-pesticides will be discussed.