On-Site Testing: Moving Decision Making from the Lab to the Field
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On-site testing is a term that is often used to describe two distinct activities, firstly detection is the initial locating of the pest or pathogen infected sample which in most instances is performed visually. The second activity is identification, usually this is achieved by sending suspected samples to a laboratory. In recent years there has been significant research activity in each of the areas to provide technological solutions to enable more rapid decision making. Of course it is not necessarily just inspection services who benefit from these techniques, they can be deployed throughout the farm to fork, agri-production chain by seed producers, growers, processors, pack-houses etc. to limit losses caused by pathogens and pests. How best to deploy detection methods however may provide a potential conundrum for policy makers and other stakeholders. Deploying simplified detection and identification methods remotely helps to speed up inspection and facilitates trade. However, without care this approach may risk a blinkered, targeted inspection approach and a ‘winding down’ of laboratory expertise which is needed during outbreaks of new pests.
KeywordsField-testing Detection LAMP Acoustics Volatiles Remote imaging Inspection
We acknowledge funding from Framework 7 of the European Union under grant agreement 245047 for the project Q-detect: Developing quarantine pest detection methods for use by national plant protection organisations (NPPO) and inspection services. NB would in particular like to acknowledge helpful discussions during the course of the project with Maja Ravnikar, Juerg Frey, Andrea Battisti, Francoise Petter, Martin Brandstetter, Maja Zorovich, Cor Schoen, Hugh Mortimer, Jenny Tomlinson, Michael Andreou and Andreas Buhlmann.
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