AND TRADITIONS OF THE IOBC GLOBAL WORKING GROUP
ON MASS REARING AND QUALITY ASSURANCE
C. Leppla & Patrick De Clercq
A brief history
of the working group, along with some of its roots and traditions, was
included in the preface to the Proceedings of the VII Workshop on Quality
Control of Mass-Reared Arthropods (WGQC). It suggested that quality
control of mass-reared arthropods began to take shape as a coherent
subject following presentation of formative papers by Ernst Boller and
Manfred Mackauer at an International Organization for Biological Control
(IOBC) symposium in Rome, Italy. These papers, published in the same
volume of Entomophaga in 1972, were widely read and discussed relative
to their applications in sterile insect technique and augmentative biological
During most of the
1970's this emerging field advanced as Ernst Boller and Derrell Chambers
organized and conducted a series of international conferences and training
courses, and published many scientific papers and the book, "Quality
Control, An Idea Book for Fruit Fly Workers." In 1980 the official working
group was sponsored by IOBC and approximately biannual workshops were
established. IOBC has supported every one of these workshops both financially
and through periodic participation of the President and Secretary of
the Global Body. The workshops and their leadership were as follows:
F. Boller and D. L. Chambers
F. Boller and D. L. Chambers
Wageningen, The Netherlands
Bigler and J. C. van Lenteren
Benuzzi and N. C. Leppla
Santa Barbara, California
F. Luck and N. C. Leppla
C. Leppla and T. R. Ashley
De Clercq, S. Grenier and N.C. Leppla
Grenier and C. Glenister
Coudron, P. De Clercq and A. G. Parker
De Clercq, T. Coudron, T. M. Manjunath, C. Ballal
The workshop held
in Gainesville, Florida in 1982 focused on pests of man and animals,
i.e., biting flies, such as screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax
(Coquerel), fruit flies and Lepidoptera. A post-meeting excursion was
conducted to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico (screwworm) and Metapa, Mexico
(medfly). Tours of operational pest management programs based on mass-produced
arthropods were important to maintain a practical orientation. Encouraged
by Manfred Mackauer, natural enemies were featured for the first time
at the workshop held at Wadenswil, Switzerland in 1984. At Guatemala
City, Guatemala in 1986, the meeting was organized by subject rather
than taxonomic group: insect colonization and strain development, colony
maintenance, quality control of production and products (laboratory
bioassays), irradiation, shipment and distribution, field assessment
and management of quality control systems. Colonization and strain development,
critical subjects that receive minimal attention, were also emphasized.
Tom Ashley (1987) developed a computerized quality control system at
Guatemala following the meeting. The Vancouver, Canada meeting in 1988
was divided into two sections, "Quality Control of Pestiferous Insects"
and "Quality Control of Entomophagous Arthropods." Along with the topics
discussed at Guatemala, behavior of entomophages was added by Joop van
Lenteren and colonization by Manfred Mackauer. IOBC was represented
by the Secretary of the Global Body, Jean Paul Aeschlimann. This and
the previous meeting at Guatemala were very important in developing
the concepts of total quality control. The V workshop held at Wageningen,
The Netherlands in 1991 was co-chaired by Franz Bigler and Joop van
Lenteren. It concentrated completely on entomophagous arthropods and
resulted in very important proceedings that described specific quality
control tests for natural enemies. This workshop produced the special
subject meeting at Horsholm, Denmark in 1992 that reviewed and improved
guidelines for product control of natural enemies, drafted product control
methods for additional organisms, discussed quality control costs and
resources, and determined quality control information for European Community
labels. In Rimini, Italy, the VII workshop for the first time brought
together specialists in augmentative biological control with experts
in arthropod colonization and mass production. Regulation of the fledgling
international biological control industry was also debated. The VIII
workshop was held in 1995 at Santa Barbara, California. One of the four
sessions at this workshop addressed quality control procedures based
on Total Quality Management and International Standards (ISO-9000).
Considerable attention was also given to risk assessment and regulation
of commercially produced biocontrol agents. The IX workshop was conducted
in 1998 at the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in
Cali, Colombia. The meeting was held in conjunction with the IOBC Working
Group on Trichogramma and Other Egg Parasitoids. During the
meeting, self-regulation capacities for the international biological
control industry were advanced as well as some general principles and
practices in large-scale rearing as they relate to quality control.
At the conclusion of the Cali meeting, the IOBC, WGQC was combined with
a newly formed group based on rearing of entomophagous insects on artificial
diets. This amalgamation was named the Arthropod Mass Rearing and Quality
Control Working Group (AMRQC) and was under the leadership of Simon
Grenier (France), Patrick De Clercq (Belgium) and Norman Leppla (USA).
They organized the X workshop of the group in September 2003 at Agropolis
in Montpellier, France. Global IOBC was represented there by its president,
Les Ehler. During the workshop, emphasis shifted back to quality control
and rearing of entomophagous, haematophagous, as well as phytophagous
arthropods. The XI workshop was held in 2007 at Montreal, Canada, under
the theme of “Maintaining Worldwide Connections for Quality Assurance
in Arthropod and Nematode Rearing”. It was organized as a joint
meeting of AMRQC, the Association of Natural Bio-control Producers (ANBP),
the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA), and the
ASTM Subcommittee E35.30 on Natural Multi-Cellular Biological Control
Organisms. The workshop was hosted by the Biocontrol Network of Canada.
The main focus was on quality assurance for the production of arthropod
and nematode biocontrol agents and sterile insects. The XII workshop
in October 2010 was again a joint meeting of AMRQC, ANBP, IBMA, the
ASTM Subcommittee E35.30 and ran in cooperation with the Joint FAO/IAEA
Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. The meeting
was hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.
At this workshop, a proposal was accepted to change of name of the working
group to: "Mass Rearing and Quality Assurance (MRQA)" Working
Group, as the scope of the group has now broadened beyond arthropods.
The XIII workshop in November 2013 was the very first to be held in
Asia.It was co-organized by IOBC-MRQA, the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR), the Society for Biocontrol Advancement of India (SBA)
and the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) and
hosted by the National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects (NBAII
– ICAR) in Bangalore, India. Particular attention was given to
the technical and socio-economic challenges faced by emerging economies
in Asia and elsewhere related to the mass production, regulation and
release of invertebrate biological control agents.
of the working group extend far beyond its initial goal of institutionalizing
quality control in arthropod mass rearing programs. Today, unlike prior
to about 1980, quality assurance is an accepted concept throughout the
world for the production of beneficial organisms. The working group
has published quality control tests and standards, and quality control
guidelines, for more than 20 natural enemies commercialized for biological
control. Additionally, the proceedings of our workshops and organism-specific
publications form a useful body of literature on the subject.
In the future, it
is absolutely essential that the working group remain broadly based
in quality assurance and flexible to address opportunities in the use
of mass-reared arthropods and nematodes. For example, the pioneers of
this field never imagined the excessive amount of time that would be
spent on regulatory issues, nor did they anticipate requirements for
international shipment of natural enemies and the advent of genetically
modified organisms. The working group, now MRQA, has roots and traditions
but it remains unconstrained by dogma and is zealous in its search for
improvements in the rearing and quality assurance of mass-reared arthropods,
nematodes and perhaps other invertebrate and vertebrate animals that
are relevant to the remit of IOBC.
- Ashley, T. R.
1987. An Analytical System for Quality Control Data. U.S. Dept. of
Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Manual.
- Bigler, F. (ed).
1988. Contributions to the 4th Workshop of the Global Working Group,
"Quality Control of Mass Reared Arthropods." Vancouver,
- Bigler, F. (ed).
1991. Fifth Workshop of the IOBC Global Working Group, "Quality
Control of Mass Reared Arthropods." Wageningen, Netherlands.
- Bigler, F. (ed).
1992. Report, Sixth Workshop of the IOBC Global Working Group, "Quality
Control of Mass-Reared Arthropods." Horsholm, Denmark.
- Boller, E. 1972.
Behavioral aspects of mass-rearing of insects. Entomophaga 17:9-25.
- Boller, E., and
D. L. Chambers (eds). 1977. Quality control: an idea book for fruit
fly workers. IOBC Bulletin SROP-WPRS. 1977/5.
- Boller, E. F.
and N. C. Leppla. 2006. Global working group on arthropod mass rearing
and quality control (1968-present), pp. 129-134. In: E. F. Boller,
J. C. van Lenteren, and V. Delucchi (eds), International Organization
for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants (IOBC), History
of the first 50 years (1956-2006). Ponsen & Looijen, Wageningen,
- Luck, R. F. 1995.
Notes on the Santa Barbara Meeting, October 1995. IOBC Newsletter
- Mackauer, M.
1972. Genetic aspects of insect production. Entomophaga 17:27-48.
- Nicoli, G., M.
Benuzzi and N. C. Leppla. 1993. Proceedings, Seventh Workshop of the
IOBC Global working Group, "Quality Control of Mass Reared Arthropods."