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Various working groups are formed to help fill in informational voids identified for plant ecotoxicology and risk assessment. Members are encouraged to actively participate in working groups related to their interests. Working groups generally are active until their goals are reached. Below are descriptions of current and past working group activities, along with links to products produced by each. Additional Plants AG working groups will be established in the future when new information (e.g. opinions, guidance doc, reviews) for specific questions is needed by stakeholders.

Furthermore, in April 2014 a tripartite SETAC workshop has been held in Wageningen to seek agreement on the role of plants in the current and future risk assessment scheme under the light of the new directive 1107/2009 and the planned update of the Terrestrial Guidance document.

Non target terrestrial plants Workshop (Wageningen 2014)

Plant experts from academia, authorities and business were invited to contribute with their knowledge and expertise to develop testing and assessment procedures of non target terrestrial plants (NTTP).  Discussions covered mainly protection goals, risk assessment and mitigation tools. The participants of the workshop adopted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approach of using an ecosystem services framework for identifying specific protection goals. First, delivery and protection of ecosystem services were discussed for in-crop, in-field and off-crop, and off-field areas. Second, lower and higher tier risk assessment methods, including modelling approaches, were evaluated. Third, options for risk mitigation of spray drift and run-off were discussed and evaluated. More information aBout the workshop can be found here or on the document page (minutes Vancouver meeting 2014).

Glyceria Ring-test Working Group (New)

The primary objective of this Work Group is the development of a toxicity test for Glyceria maxima in a water-sediment system. This Work Group was formally launched at the 2014 SETAC Europe meeting in Basel and is currently collating existing test data for this species in order to establish a preliminary protocol for discussion. The test protocol will be based on OECD TG 239 with modifications to account for the differing requirements of Glyceria. A presentation on the activity of the working group was held at the SETAC Nort America meeting 2014 in Vancouver which can be found here. If you would like to participate in this working group, or for more information, please contact Dr. Jo Davies (jo.davies@syngenta.com). 

 Myriophyllum Working Group (Active)

This working group originated from the "Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides” (AMRAP) workshop held in Wageningen, Netherlands, in 2008. At this workshop, concern was raised over the sensitivity of Lemna species for some pesticides or other contaminants that may specifically target dicotyledonous plant processes.

Previously, the risk of herbicides to aquatic plants has been evaluated from data for four algal species and a single macrophyte species (Lemna sp.), in the US, and from data for two algal species and one macrophyte species (Lemna sp.) in the EU. New regulation in the EU will require data for an additional macrophyte species. Specifically, the Draft EFSA Guidance Document on tiered risk assessment for aquatic organisms indicates that data for a rooted macrophyte species may be required for substances where:

·         standard Lemna and algal EC50 values are > 1 mg ai/L.

·         partitioning to sediment is a concern.

The submerged, dicotyledonous species, Myriophyllum, and the emergent, monocotyledonous species Glyceria, have been identified as a suitable, alternative test species in light of prior experience and known sensitivity to some herbicide chemistries.

The primary objective of the Myriophyllum Work Group was to develop a toxicity test for Myriophyllum species in a water-sediment test system. A protocol was developed by an international work group and ring-tested in 15 laboratories  between 2009 and 2012. The protocol was submitted and accepted as an OECD Test Guideline project in 2011. Results from this ring test are reported by Ratte (2012) and were subsequently used to update the ring-tested protocol. This protocol was then debated extensively by contributors to the Work Group, ring-test participants and interested OECD Member States via several commenting rounds. The resulting text was approved by OECD in April 2014 and the final version of the resulting Guideline (OECD TG 239) is available on the OECD website.

For ongoing queries regarding OECD TG 239, please contact the Work Group co-chairs, Dr. Jo Davies (jo.davies@syngenta.com) or Dr. Margit Dollinger (margit.dollinger@bayer.com).


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In addition to the work on this water-sediment test system, there is also an initiative by the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (UBA) to develop a water only test system.

Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) Working Group (Completed)

This working group originated from the "Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides” (AMRAP) workshop held at the 2008 SETAC Europe meetings in Wageningen, Netherlands. Their primary focus was to determine the relative sensitivity of Lemna species to other aquatic macrophyte species. Lemna species are the most common surrogate aquatic plants used for aquatic macrophyte risk assessment, but little is known about their sensitivity relative to other aquatic macrophytes.

This working group developed a unique database with existing toxicity data for macrophytes and a relatively diverse array of pesticides having different modes-of-action (see AMRAP book). Chemical modes-of-action included inhibition of amino acid synthesis, auxin simulation, inhibition of cell division or elongation, inhibition of fungal respiration, inhibition of multiple biosynthesis pathways, and inhibition of photosynthesis. Species sensitivity distributions were developed for each compound using the available toxicity data and comparisons were made between Lemna and other species. For a more refined review and analysis of the data a consortium of several partners was established to allow funding of a consultant.

This project was recently completed. The final report is available below and a manuscript is currently being prepared for publication in SETAC’s IEAM journal.

For more information on this working group please contact the chair, Dr. Stefania Loutseti (Stephania.Loutseti@grc.dupont.com).

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