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Ranking matrices as operational tools for the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified crops on non-target organisms

Hilbeck, Angelika; Weiss, Gabriele; Oehen, Bernadette; Römbke, Jörg; Jänsch, Stephan; Teichmann, Hanka; Lang, Andreas; Otto, Mathias and Tappeser, Beatrix (2014) Ranking matrices as operational tools for the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified crops on non-target organisms. Ecological Indicators, 36, pp. 367-381.

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Online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.07.016

Summary

For the operationalization of the structured, stepwise selection procedure for non-target testing organisms integrated into the new EFSA guidelines for environmental risk assessment of GM plants practicaltools – i.e. ranking matrices – were developed. These tools – some of them are new and some are refinedfrom older ones – were tested using the GM case crop of TC 1507 maize. The selection procedure consists of six steps. The strategy builds on identifying the important ecological functions for the particularcropping system and compiling a species lists according to their ecological functions and presence inthe specific receiving environments. Subsequently, the species numbers are reduced in a systematic,stepwise fashion to a relevant and practical number of testing organisms and/or processes.Four ecological functional categories were selected: herbivory, pollination, natural enemies and soilorganisms/processes. Based on these categories, the relevant species were chosen and subjected to theselection steps. Out of a total of 33 herbivores, 73 pollinators/pollen feeders, 48 natural enemies and77 soil organisms/processes we started with in Step 1, 15 herbivores, 10 pollinators 17 natural enemyspecies and 9 soil organisms/processes were selected as relevant and suited for a testing program at theend of the selection procedure in Step 4.Although the ranking tools will continue to need further refinement, we could demonstrate that thisprocedure allows to swiftly select the most important suite of species and processes from a large numberof organisms. This expert-driven process increases ecological realism and transparency in risk assessment and tailors it to the particular receiving environment, thus, overcoming important deficienciesof the current approach that has attracted persistent criticism. We recommend balancing ecologicalrequirements with practicability criteria and realism in the test strategy. At present, the ranking isabundance-oriented and, thus, excludes rare and/or endangered species that are sensitive to disturbances. We suggest additional selection criteria to strengthen nature conservation and off-field aspects.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Bt toxin, TC 1507, maize Bacillus thuringiensis, Genetically modified, plant, Bt maize, Environmental risk assessment, Selection procedure, Non-target organisms, Ecotoxicological test species, Sozioökonomie, Pflanzenzüchtung, Gentechnik, Kontamination
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
EnglishBt toxinUNSPECIFIED
Englishenvironmental risk assessmentUNSPECIFIED
Englishnon-target organismsUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Breeding, genetics and propagation
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
Switzerland > Other organizations
Germany > Other organizations
Deposited By: Oehen, Dipl. bot. Bernadette
ID Code:25738
Deposited On:29 Apr 2014 11:05
Last Modified:29 Apr 2014 11:05
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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