Risk assessment of NBT crops for the soil environment

Publikation: KonferencebidragPosterForskning


All crops developed using NBT and RNAi can trigger an updating, specification and evaluation of the ecological risk assessment (ERA) as described in the recommended EFSA GMO ERA Guidance (EFSA Journal 2010, 8(11):1879). Such an update is the recent scientific opinion on pesticide ERA (EFSA Journal 2017, 15(2):4690) by clarifying specific protection goals for soil biodiversity (SPG) and soil functions in terms of ecosystem services (ES). Soil biodiversity is considered to deliver a range of ESs and are therefore service-providing units (SPU). Hitherto, direct effects of a new intended property of an NBT plant could rarely trigger testing at the tier 1 testing level, while the unintended effects with unknown consequences at the plant phenotypic level always raises concerns. In this case, the problem formulation will need to provide the rationale for selection of a range of representative focal soil invertebrate species, in order to increase the chance of protecting all relevant SPGs and SPUs within the soil ecosystem. A minimum requirement of focal species would typically consist of an earthworm, a collembolan and a mite species. Baseline soil invertebrate biodiversity data available from international databases such as www.edaphobase.org can aid in determining site and land-use specific protection goals and ESs. However, the estimation of ESs is not particularly developed for soil fauna and there is a need to convert biodiversity information into ecosystem services, when it is not feasible to quantify the functions directly. Such proxies could be developed for ES like water infiltration capacity based on earthworm abundance and species composition. Similar relationships can be tested for ES such as fungal decease suppression. A proper prediction of the state of soil-related ESs needs agronomic information, as the individual ES depends on the entire farming system and farming operations. Hence, agronomic metadata must be included along with biodiversity observations uploaded to baseline databases. Such a system level approach is paramount for evaluation of NBT, as potential changes in farming practice driven by the use of NBT GMO’s may result in environmental impact, while the direct effect of the NBT plant may be absent or neglectable. Such a multidisciplinary and holistic approach is already implicit in the EFSA GMO ERA Guidance and is further supported by the need to ensure compliance with the UN goal of farming system sustainability. This will include assessment of additional soil ESs such as carbon sequestration, water holding capacity and retention of plant nutrients.
Udgivelsesår27 feb. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 27 feb. 2019
BegivenhediPlanta 3rd Annual Conference. What future for RNAi-based products: RNAi modified plants or spray products and iPLANTA MC meeting - ITQP NOVA, Oeras, Portugal
Varighed: 27 feb. 20191 mar. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 3


KonferenceiPlanta 3rd Annual Conference. What future for RNAi-based products: RNAi modified plants or spray products and iPLANTA MC meeting


  • Ecological risk assessment (ERA), soil invertebrates, unintended effects, baseline scenarios, problem formulation

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