Re-evaluation of biosafety questions on genetically modified biocontrol bacteria
Microorganisms have the potential to promote plant health and can be used to increase agricultural production that depends less on chemical control. The implementation of EU Directive 2009/128/EC, also called the Sustainable Use Directive, has led to a renewed interest in microbial biocontrol of plant diseases. Technological developments in biotechnology such as high throughput sequencing and genome editing using CRISPR/Cas open new possibilities for biocontrol applications of microorganisms. Some of these developments may involve the use of genetic modification to increase efficacy. This reopens biosafety questions posed for genetically modified microorganisms with respect to their environmental release. However, over the last decades quite some experience has been gained with genetically modified microorganisms, which could also be considered for the risk assessment of microorganisms obtained by recent techniques in biotechnology.
This paper describes experience gained from risk assessment studies with genetically modified microbial biocontrol agents under field conditions. The use of this experience in addressing current biosafety questions in biotechnology is discussed.
KeywordsBiocontrol Biotechnology Genetically modified microorganisms Microbiome PGPR Pseudomonads
I would like to thank Cecile van der Vlugt (RIVM), Jacqueline Scheepmaker (RIVM) and Peter Bakker (University Utrecht) for critical reading of the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.
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