Plant-pathogenic bacteria as biological weapons. Real threats?

Young J.M., Allen Caitilyn, Coutinho T., Denny T., Elphinstone J., Fegan Max, Gillings M., Gottwald T.R., Graham J.H., Iacobellis N.S., Janse J.D., Jacques Marie Agnès, López María M., Morris Cindy E., Parkinson N., Prior Philippe, Pruvost Olivier, Rodrigues Neto J., Scortichini Marco, Takikawa Y., Upper C.D.. 2008. Plant-pathogenic bacteria as biological weapons. Real threats?. Phytopathology, 98 (10) : pp. 1060-1065.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Psychologie-éthologie-ergonomie

Abstract : At present, much attention is being given to the potential of plant pathogens, including plant-pathogenic bacteria, as biological weapons/bioterror weapons. These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably and there is need for care in their application. It has been claimed that clandestine introduction of certain plant-pathogenic bacteria could cause such crop losses as to impact so significantly on a national economy and thus constitute a threat to national security. As a separate outcome, it is suggested that they could cause serious public alarm, perhaps constituting a source of terror. Legislation is now in place to regulate selected plantpathogenic bacteria as potential weapons. However, we consider it highly doubtful that any plant-pathogenic bacterium has the requisite capabilities to justify such a classification. Even if they were so capable, the differentiation of pathogens into a special category with regulations that are even more restrictive than those currently applied in quarantine legislation of most jurisdictions offers no obvious benefit. Moreover, we believe that such regulations are disadvantageous insofar as they limit research on precisely those pathogens most in need of study. Whereas some human and animal pathogens may have potential as biological or bioterror weapons, we conclude that it is unlikely that any plant-pathogenic bacterium realistically falls into this category. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Agent pathogène, Pathologie végétale, Biosécurité, Réglementations à la biosécurité

Classification Agris : H20 - Plant diseases
D50 - Legislation
000 - Other themes

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2005-2013) - Intensification écologique

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Young J.M., Landcare Research (NZL)
  • Allen Caitilyn, University of Wisconsin (USA)
  • Coutinho T., University of Pretoria (ZAF)
  • Denny T., University of Georgia (USA)
  • Elphinstone J., Central Science Laboratory (GBR)
  • Fegan Max, University of Queensland (AUS)
  • Gillings M., Macquarie University (AUS)
  • Gottwald T.R., USDA (USA)
  • Graham J.H., University of Florida (USA)
  • Iacobellis N.S., Università degli Studi della Basilicata (ITA)
  • Janse J.D., Dutch general inspection service (NLD)
  • Jacques Marie Agnès, INRA (FRA)
  • López María M., IVIA (ESP)
  • Morris Cindy E., INRA (FRA)
  • Parkinson N., Central Science Laboratory (GBR)
  • Prior Philippe, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR PVBMT (REU)
  • Pruvost Olivier, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR PVBMT (REU)
  • Rodrigues Neto J., Instituto Biologico (BRA)
  • Scortichini Marco, Centro di ricerca per la frutticoltura (ITA)
  • Takikawa Y., Shizuoka University (JPN)
  • Upper C.D., University of Wisconsin (USA)

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