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Plants IG Working Groups and Workshops
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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 IG 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).

Non target terrestrial plants Workshop at ECHA (2015)

The outcome of this workshop is summarized in a poster prestentation (see link).

Glyceria Ring-test Working Group (Active)

In 2014, a Workgroup was formed with the objective of developing a test guideline for assessing the effects of chemicals on the rooted, emergent macrophyte Glyceria maxima in a water-sediment system. Since this time, the workgroup has performed two ring-tests. The first ring-test was completed with the herbicide, isoproturon by 13 laboratories during 2016 - 2017, and the second ring-test was completed with the herbicide, imazapyr in 11 laboratories during the Summer/Autumn of 2018.  Results from these ring-tests were used to establish a test duration of 14 days and assessment parameters that focus on shoot, rather than root, measurements. Reports from these ring-tests can be found here:

Glyceria Ring Test 1

Glyceria Ring Test 2

Glyceria Ring Test 3

In 2019, the project was accepted as an OECD Test Guideline project and a third ring-test is scheduled for Summer 2021. The protocol for this ring-test is currently under review (see here) and will focus on reducing experimental variability by improving the uniformity of the starting plant material and the standardization of test conditions. In the meantime, training is planned to provide a common understanding of experimental techniques specifically the Identification of healthy plant material and best practice for plant handling, propagation methods and the conduct of biological assessments. The progress of this work has been documented in presentations at SETAC meetings since 2014. The latest presentations can be found here:




If you would like to participate in this working group, or for more information, please contact Dr. Jo Davies ( 


Myriophyllum Working Group (Finalised)

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.


In addition to the work on this water-sediment test system, there was also an initiative by the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (UBA) to develop a water only test system which resulted in OEC TG 238.

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.