Source: WESTERN REGIONAL RES CENTER submitted to
CLASSICAL BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF NARCOTIC PLANTS
Sponsoring Institution
Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0402468
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
0500-00056-011-00D
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Feb 26, 1999
Project End Date
Feb 25, 2004
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
CARRUTHERS R I
Recipient Organization
WESTERN REGIONAL RES CENTER
(N/A)
ALBANY,CA 94710
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
(N/A)
Animal Health Component
20%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
80%
Applied
20%
Developmental
0%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
21622211140100%
Knowledge Area
216 - Integrated Pest Management Systems;

Subject Of Investigation
2221 - Narcotic plants;

Field Of Science
1140 - Weed science;
Goals / Objectives
1. Search for and discover new natural enemies for development of classical biological control agents for coca, opium poppy and marijuana. 2. Conduct investigations on host: agent relationships, including host-specificity, efficacy, ecology, biology, culturing and development. 3. Determine potential for mass production of newly discovered bio-agents.
Project Methods
New natural enemies of narcotic crops such as coca, opium poppy and marijuana will be identified and collected through foreign exploration in countries of origin. Working with cooperators at USDA-ARS overseas laboratories, colonies of these beneficial natural enemies will be established and held under quarantine conditions in the Albany, California laboratory. General biology, life-cycle, host preference feeding studies and environmental safety will be assessed under quarantine conditions. Environmental assessments will be conducted to support requests for field release of these natural enemies by ARS cooperators. Cooperators will be trained in the handling and use of approved agents as necessary and ARS will provide colonies of these insects upon request from the National Program Staff.

Progress 10/01/03 to 09/30/04

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? Marijuana is a controlled substance in the United States and is often grown and sold illegally. This project was Congressionally mandated to explore the feasibility of using biological control to aid in marijuana management at some future time, if determined appropriate. It is relevant to local and national law enforcement agencies and was initiated through a USDA Headquarter mandate. This project is the master CRIS project for ARS efforts on narcotic plant biological control and primarily serves to provide resources to outside cooperators that conduct this research. It addresses the potential control of the narcotic plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) using insects from its native home-range in Asia. This project is linked with National Program 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine and is specifically tied to the components: Investigation of the biology of pest and beneficial organisms, and Understanding pest/host interactions and economic or environmental impacts. To accomplish the goals of this project, ARS scientists are cooperating with others at the University of California and Abstract Tools of Brooktondale, NY. Both cooperators are supported through Specific Cooperative Agreements that terminate in September 2004. 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Proposed Milestones: Year 1 (FY 2000) -Develop a quarantined plant growth facility to handle target plant growth under full containment. -Assess plant growth modeling and monitoring techniques that may be useful in assessing the impact of natural enemies on target plants. Year 2 (FY2002) -Collect plant growth data on segregate plants to test modeling systems in anticipation of conducting similar studies on the target plant in the future as determined appropriate. Year 3 (FY 2003) -Conduct overseas research on target plant distribution and plant growth patterns. -Assess naturally occurring insects that feed on the target plant in it home range. Year 4 (FY 2004) -Complete field and laboratory studies to determine if any of these hold potential for future biological control programs. 3. Milestones: A. List the milestones that were scheduled to be addressed in FY 2004. How many milestones did you fully or substantially meet in FY 2004 and indicate which ones were not fully or substantially met, briefly explain why not, and your plans to do so. -Complete field and laboratory studies to determine if any of these hold potential for future biological control programs. The final stages of overseas evaluations were conducted on several different natural enemies of marijuana and several potential biological control agents were identified but none were found to be safe for release into the US. 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A. Research was initiated on this project at the request of Congress and the State Department to identify new biologically based methods of controlling marijuana, and was implemented in cooperating with foreign institutions in Italy, Russia, China and Kazakhstan. Naturally occurring stands of Cannabis sativa were located in Eastern Siberia and Western China, and the following insect species were identified on these plants and were observed to be host specific in the field, thus promising agents for further investigation. They include: 1) The weevil Cardipennis rubripes (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) collected in eastern Siberia and widely distributed east of Lake Baikal; 2) The weevil Rhinoncus percarpus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) collected in northwestern China; 3) The flea beetle Psylloides attenuata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) collected in eastern Siberia; 4) The hemp stem-borer, Grapholitha delineana (Lepidoptera Olethreutidae) from northwestern China; and 5) The hemp sawfly, Trichiocampus cannabis (Hymenoptera: Symphyta) collected in both eastern Siberia and northwestern China. If eventually found appropriate for use, these agents might be used to control cannabis in the United States, however, none of these agents was found to be host- specific making them risky to American agriculture and the natural environment. B. To assess host-specificity and environmental safety, laboratory tests were conducted using two of the beetles collected in Siberia. The Biological Control group in St. Petersburg, Russia, found that the two beetles, P. attenuata and R. rubripes, performed better, in terms of growth and survival, on C. sativa than on hops (Humulus lupulus: Cannabaceae), a related plant with considerable US economic value. Controlled ovipositional tests showed an exclusive preference for Cannabis over several other plants although hops were not included in these choice tests. Additional, field observations made by Dr. Li Baoping in China showed that the hemp stem-borer can be found infesting wild hops, Humulus sp. Potential nontarget impacts on hops would make these control agents very risky for introduction into the US and thus classical biological control of marijuana does not seem appropriate at this time. C. Significant Accomplishment/Activities that support Target Populations: None. D. Progress Report. Four foreign cooperators conducted overseas exploration, collection and testing of new natural enemies of Cannabis sativa in Eurasia. Cooperators in Italy, Russia, China and Kazakhstan have all cooperated in field assessments and testing of potential biological control agents. Specific contracts were managed by the University of California to conduct the designated research on the biology and host-specificity of potential new agents. Literature and field surveys of insects associated with cannabis sativa have been conducted and foreign exploration trips completed. Cooperators have assessed both safety (host-specificity) and efficacy (impacts) of these agents on target and non-target plants. None seemed host specific enough to use a new potential biological control agents as they all seem to attack hops (Humulus lupulus: Cannabaceae), a valuable crop in the Northwestern US. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. Two specific cooperative agreements were established with the University of California Davis and with Abstract Tools incorporated to conduct supporting research and development activities for this project. UC Davis has been given responsibility to develop and implement foreign exploration and testing of new Cannabis biological control agents in Eurasia. In cooperation with ARS, visits have been made to Nepal and India where new natural enemies of the target plant were located however no cooperators were identified to further the collection, identification and testing of these insect and pathogens in these countries. UC Davis scientists have completed agreements with other scientific institutions in Italy, Russia, China and Kazakhstan. Through these agreements, the collection and shipment of new natural enemies, were made to secure plant growth facilities in cooperating countries where natural enemies were tested for effectiveness and safety. Abstract Tools assisted ARS through the development of new biological control modeling software used to predict insect development which is further being interfaced with physiological and structural plant growth models that will be used to simulate marijuana growth and development with and without natural enemy attack. This research was initiated to study cannabis plant growth and the impact of new biological control agents. New Walk-in plant growth chambers were constructed that permits plants to be grown under secure conditions and used in quarantine. Construction was completed, however, only other non-narcotic plants (segregate plants) were grown and tested using this system. If and when necessary, these chambers will allow us to test the impact of insect natural enemies under simulated field conditions within our quarantine facility. These facilities will be used in the final stages of testing (if deemed appropriate) for the effectiveness and environmental safety of any selected biological control agents.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications


    Progress 02/26/99 to 02/25/04

    Outputs
    1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? Marijuana is a controlled substance in the United States and is often grown and sold illegally. This project was Congressionally mandated to explore the feasibility of using biological control to aid in marijuana management at some future time, if determined appropriate. It is relevant to local and national law enforcement agencies and was initiated through a USDA Headquarter mandate. This project is the master CRIS project for ARS efforts on narcotic plant biological control and primarily serves to provide resources to outside cooperators that conduct this research. It addresses the potential control of the narcotic plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) using insects from its native home-range in Asia. This project is linked with National Program 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine and is specifically tied to the components: Investigation of the biology of pest and beneficial organisms, and Understanding pest/host interactions and economic or environmental impacts. To accomplish the goals of this project, ARS scientists are cooperating with others at the University of California and Abstract Tools of Brooktondale, NY. Both cooperators are supported through Specific Cooperative Agreements that terminate in September 2004. 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Year 1 (FY 2000) -Develop a quarantined plant growth facility to handle target plant growth under full containment. -Assess plant growth modeling and monitoring techniques that may be useful in assessing the impact of natural enemies on target plants. Year 2 (FY2002) -Collect plant growth data on segregate plants to test modeling systems in anticipation of conducting similar studies on the target plant in the future as determined appropriate. Year 3 (FY 2003) -Conduct overseas research on target plant distribution and plant growth patterns. -Assess naturally occurring insects that feed on the target plant in it home range. Year 4 (FY 2004) -Complete field and laboratory studies to determine if any of these hold potential for future biological control programs. Milestones: A. List the milestones that were scheduled to be addressed in FY 2004. How many milestones did you fully or substantially meet in FY 2004 and indicate which ones were not fully or substantially met, briefly explain why not, and your plans to do so. -Complete field and laboratory studies to determine if any of these hold potential for future biological control programs. Year 5 (FY 2005) -No work was to be completed as research on this project was to terminate September 2004. The overall project remained active, however, to allow all subordinate projects to complete financial transactions. Thus there is no new research reported in FY 05. The final stages of overseas evaluations were conducted on several different natural enemies of marijuana and several potential biological control agents were identified but none were found to be safe for release into the US. 4d Progress report. No new progress, project terminated 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. Two specific cooperative agreements were established with the University of California Davis and with Abstract Tools incorporated to conduct supporting research and development activities for this project. UC Davis has been given responsibility to develop and implement foreign exploration and testing of new Cannabis biological control agents in Eurasia. In cooperation with ARS, visits have been made to Nepal and India where new natural enemies of the target plant were located however no cooperators were identified to further the collection, identification and testing of these insect and pathogens in these countries. UC Davis scientists have completed agreements with other scientific institutions in Italy, Russia, China and Kazakhstan. Through these agreements, the collection and shipment of new natural enemies, were made to secure plant growth facilities in cooperating countries where natural enemies were tested for effectiveness and safety. Abstract Tools assisted ARS through the development of new biological control modeling software used to predict insect development which is further being interfaced with physiological and structural plant growth models that will be used to simulate marijuana growth and development with and without natural enemy attack. This research was initiated to study cannabis plant growth and the impact of new biological control agents. New Walk-in plant growth chambers were constructed that permits plants to be grown under secure conditions and used in quarantine. Construction was completed, however, only other non-narcotic plants (segregate plants) were grown and tested using this system. If and when necessary, these chambers will allow us to test the impact of insect natural enemies under simulated field conditions within our quarantine facility. These facilities were used in the final stages of testing for the effectiveness and environmental safety of other selected biological control agents (none for marijuana). Research was initiated on this project at the request of Congress and the State Department to identify new biologically based methods of controlling marijuana, and was implemented in cooperating with foreign institutions in Italy, Russia, China and Kazakhstan. Naturally occurring stands of Cannabis sativa were located in Eastern Siberia and Western China, and the following insect species were identified on these plants and were observed to be host specific in the field, thus promising agents for further investigation. They include: 1) The weevil Cardipennis rubripes (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) collected in eastern Siberia and widely distributed east of Lake Baikal; 2) The weevil Rhinoncus percarpus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) collected in northwestern China; 3) The flea beetle Psylloides attenuata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) collected in eastern Siberia; 4) The hemp stem-borer, Grapholitha delineana (Lepidoptera Olethreutidae) from northwestern China; and 5) The hemp sawfly, Trichiocampus cannabis (Hymenoptera: Symphyta) collected in both eastern Siberia and northwestern China. If eventually found appropriate for use, these agents might be used to control cannabis in the United States, however, none of these agents was found to be host- specific making them risky to American agriculture and the natural environment. To assess host-specificity and environmental safety, laboratory tests were conducted using two of the beetles collected in Siberia. The Biological Control group in St. Petersburg, Russia, found that the two beetles, P. attenuata and R. rubripes, performed better, in terms of growth and survival, on C. sativa than on hops (Humulus lupulus: Cannabaceae), a related plant with considerable US economic value. Controlled ovipositional tests showed an exclusive preference for Cannabis over several other plants although hops were not included in these choice tests. Additional, field observations made by Dr. Li Baoping in China showed that the hemp stem-borer can be found infesting wild hops, Humulus sp. Potential nontarget impacts on hops would make these control agents very risky for introduction into the US and thus classical biological control of marijuana does not seem appropriate at this time. None seemed host specific enough to use a new potential biological control agents as they all seem to attack hops (Humulus lupulus: Cannabaceae), a valuable crop in the Northwestern US.

    Impacts
    (N/A)

    Publications