NAFA Success Stories

Insect Pest Control // Plant Breeding // Livestock // Soil and Water // Food and Environment

Insect Pest Control

CRP success story “Comparing Rearing Efficiency and Competitiveness of Sterile Male Strains Produced by Genetic, Transgenic or Symbiont-based Technologies.” (CRP D42016). SIT is a species-specific and environment-friendly control technique, which is based on the mass-production and release of radiation-induced sterilised male insects over a target area, that breed with wild female mosquitoes that then fail to produce offspring. Read More »

Combatting Malaria, Dengue and Zika Using Nuclear Technology. Diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika, spread by various mosquito species, are wreaking havoc on millions of lives worldwide. Read More »

The sterile insect technique for use against the devastating European grapevine moth in Chile. In Chile, the European grapevine moth was detected for the first time in the Linderos area of the Metropolitan Region in April 2008. To face this serious threat, IAEA and FAO offered technical support to Chile in developing and field-validating the sterile insect technique (SIT) against the invasive pest. Read More »

Drone Test Yields Breakthrough for Use of Nuclear Technique to Fight Mosquitoes - IAEA Study. The use of drones can significantly increase effectiveness and reduce costs in the application of a nuclear technique to suppress disease-carrying mosquitoes, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) study. Read More »

Argentina’s Newly Recognized Fruit Fly Free Areas Expedite Fresh Fruit Exports to China. In what is expected to be a major boost to Argentina’s niche fruit exports, areas growing cherries and other stone and pome fruits have been recognized as fruit fly free by China, enabling exports to the world’s largest fresh food market. Read More »

A Special Issue Published on the Use of Symbiotic Bacteria to Enhance the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Sterile Insect Technique. Efficiency of SIT can be hampered by the quality of the mass-reared and sterilised male insects. Research efforts focussed on ways to improve these processes have recognised the symbiotic relationships between tephritids and particular species of bacteria as potential targets for improving the quality of the sterilized males and reducing costs of production. Read More »

Nuclear Technique Opens New Markets for Ecuador's Fruits. Ecuador, one of the largest producers of tropical fruit in the Western Hemisphere, is adding non-traditional fruits to its export portfolio as a result of successfully fighting off the Mediterranean fruit fly with the help of nuclear techniques. Read More »

IAEA Promotes the Integrated Management of Invasive Aedes Species in Europe. IAEA technical cooperation (TC) project, implemented with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has supported the integration of the sterile insect technique (SIT) into existing national pest control strategies, to help delay, curtail and contain the spread of pathogen-carrying mosquitoes in Europe. Read More »

Fighting Chikungunya, Dengue, Yellow Fever and Zika: New Guidelines Bring Global Harmonization. Through a collaboration between the IAEA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Special Programme for Training and Research of Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Guidance Framework for Testing the Sterile Insect Technique as a Vector Control Tool against Aedes-Borne Diseases was released earlier this month. Read More »

The Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, has been officially declared eradicated. An outbreak of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata, Wied.) was declared eradicated on 24 April 2020 after one year of intensive actions carried out under the framework of an emergency response protocol. With this result the spread of the pest to other nearby states and to the interior of the country was prevented and the high valued horticultural industry in Mexico protected. The outbreak required the hard work of over 200 technicians and the effective application of an integrated pest management approach which include the sterile insect technique (SIT). Congratulations to these other heroes, that like the medical doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus, they bravely fought this other type of biological war. Read More »(article available only in Spanish)

And the African Union Commission excellence award goes to… Marc Vreysen and Udo Feldmann from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture recently received recognition by the African Union - InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) for their unwavering commitment and outstanding contributions to the control of the tsetse flies in Africa using the sterile insect technique (SIT). Read More »

IAEA Helps Ecuador’s National Parks Better Understand Parasitic Fly Threatening Darwin’s Galápagos Finches. The Galápagos Islands, the archipelago associated with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and evolution, are a living symbol of endemic biodiversity. Read More »

Nuclear Technique Suppresses Tsetse Flies Without Harming Other Insects, Senegal Study Shows. A nuclear technique has successfully been used to suppress a major pest – the tsetse fly – in Senegal without inadvertently harming other insects, an eight-year study shows. Read More »

U.S. Grant Helps Optimize Nuclear Technique to Reduce Disease-Transmitting Mosquito Populations. Using a nuclear technique applied at a large scale against agricultural pests around the world to control disease-transmitting mosquitoes has been an elusive goal for scientists over the last decade. Read More »

Identification of the Male Determining Factor Reduces the Cost of SIT Application Against Insect Pests. The insect family Tephritidae includes many invasive pest species of major agricultural and economic importance and there is an urgent need to develop and apply the sterile insect technique (SIT) against them, as a component of an area-wide integrated pest management approach. Read More »

Mosquito Population Successfully Suppressed Through Pilot Study Using Nuclear Technique in China. For the first time, a combination of the nuclear sterile insect technique (SIT) with the incompatible insect technique (IIT) has led to the successful suppression of mosquito populations, a promising step in the control of mosquitoes that carry dengue, the Zika virus and many other devastating diseases. Read More »

IAEA Advises Bangladesh on Potential Use of Nuclear Technique to Fight Dengue Mosquitoes. Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have helped Bangladesh assess the current dengue outbreak in the country and draw up a plan to test a nuclear technique to suppress the mosquitoes spreading the disease. Read More »

Fruit Sampling Guidelines for Area-Wide Fruit Fly Programmes. This guideline has been prepared to support decision making on the strategic planning and implementation of the fruit sampling as a component of a surveillance system in AW-IPM programmes. Read More »

Mauritius Inaugurates New Facility to Use Nuclear Technology to Fight Agricultural Pests. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has helped Mauritius take an important step in the suppression of agricultural pests with the inauguration of a new facility to apply a nuclear technique to fight insects that cause annual losses of around US $6 million to farmers. Read More »

New CRP: Mosquito Irradiation, Sterilization and Quality Control (D44004). The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is launching a new five-year (2020-2025) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), titled ‘Mosquito Irradiation, Sterilization and Quality Control’ (D44004). Read More »

Use of Entomopathogenic Fungi for Fruit Fly Control in Area-Wide SIT Programmes. This document presents a review of different studies that support the use of entomopathogenic fungi to suppress fruit fly populations. It describes the process to characterize pathogenic fungi strains, the inoculation process of sterile flies, handling of the sterile flies used as vectors, biosecurity recommendations and release densities of inoculated sterile flies, as well as the density of the disseminator devices. The integrated use of the SIT and Microbial Control as components of area-wide management strategies is presented. English version » Spanish version »

E-Learning Course on Packing, Shipping, Holding and Release of Sterile Flies in Area-Wide Fruit Fly Control Programmes. This e-learning course is based on the FAO/IAEA ‘‘Guideline for packing, shipping, holding and release of sterile flies in area-wide fruit fly control programmes’' Read More »

Meeting of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Technical Panel on Phytosanitary Treatments (TPPT). The TPPT met from 8 to 12 July 2019 in Vienna, Austria to discuss various phytosanitary treatments related issues. The meeting was organized by the IPPC Secretariat and hosted by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre. The panel reviewed the submissions sent by national and regional plant protection organizations (NPPOs and RPPOs) in response to a “call for treatments” from the IPPC Secretariat. The TPPT also reviewed the objection to the Heat treatment of wood using dielectric heating (2007-114) and prepared a recommendation to be revised by the Standards Committee (SC). Read More »

IAEA and WHO to Develop a New Framework for the Application of Nuclear Techniques against Mosquito-Borne Diseases When it comes to transmitting diseases among people, mosquitoes are unsurpassed in the economic and health burdens they impose. Read More »

Morocco Sets up Pest Surveillance Network in Preparation for the Suppression of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly The cultivation and export of citrus plays a significant role in Morocco’s economy: it employs more than 13 000 farmers and farm workers and produces exports of US $300 million per year. Read More »

Special Issue of BMC Microbiology Journal Presents Recent Findings on Tsetse Flies and Their Symbionts, Parasites and Pathogens from FAO/IAEA Research Project Sleeping sickness or Human African Trypanosomosis (HAT) affects people in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is caused by unicellular parasites known as Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. Read More »

Spreadsheet for Designing Aedes Mosquito Mass-Rearing and Release Facilities Version 1.0. [pdf] The number and production capacity of mass rearing insectaries for mosquitos is expected to increase in the coming years. This FAO/IAEA interactive Excel Spreadsheet has been developed to assists in technical and economic decision making associated with design, costing, construction, equipping, and facility operation. The spreadsheet is user friendly and thus largely self-explanatory. Nevertheless, it includes a basic instruction manual that has been prepared to guide the user, and thus should be used together with the software. Read More »

Manual and Spreadsheet for Assessment of Sterile Insect Release Densities.[pdf]. This Excel spreadsheet model is a valuable tool for optimization of sterile insect release programmes in particular for fruit flies. This spreadsheet model has been validated and it is being used routinely in large-scale operational field programmes. The investment that programmes conduct in SIT application (including production and release of sterile insects) is very substantial; therefore, an efficient use of the sterile insects is fundamental to provide economic feasibility to SIT programmes. Read More »

Eradication of a Transient Actionable Entry of Bactrocera scutellata (Hendel) in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. A transient entry of the fruit fly Bactrocera scutellata (Hendel) was recorded on 2 February 2018 in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico (the main port of entry for trade with Asia). Read More »

Americas Congress on Fruit Flies and the 10th Meeting of the Tephritids Workers of the Western Hemisphere (TWWH) - FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT. The event will be held in Bogotá, Colombia, from March 16-20, 2020. It is aimed at promoting the exchange of experiences between scientists and personnel in charge of directing programs for the surveillance and control of fruit flies in the Western Hemisphere.   Read More »

New sterile insect release facility in Sarasota, Florida. The facility supports the USDA, APHIS Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) Preventive Release Program. APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program marked the opening of its newest Sterile Insect Release Facility in Sarasota, Florida.   Read More »

Successful Completion of the CRP D44001 - Exploring Genetic, Molecular, Mechanical and Behavioural Methods of Sex Separation in Mosquitoes. Among the major vectors of human diseases, mosquitoes of the Aedes and Anopheles genera are among the most devastating.   Read More »

Integrated Pest Management to Boost Dragon Fruit Production in Viet Nam. There is a reason why dragon fruit is considered a rich and famous fruit in Viet Nam: it is exported to 40 countries and return from dragon fruit production is several times higher than from rice production.   Read More »

Exploring genetic, molecular, mechanical and behavioural methods of sex separation in mosquitoes. Male-only releases is a prerequisite for mosquito SIT because female mosquitoes can bite, blood-feed and potentially transmit major human pathogens. Mosquito SIT faces a major challenge: efficient sex separation tools. Current sex separation methods are not efficient and robust enough in eliminating females to ensure safe and bio-secure releases of sterile males only.   Read More »

The IAEA and Climate Change: Adaptation, Monitoring and Mitigation. Climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges affecting humanity today, causing a dangerous rise in sea levels and disturbances to the water cycle and leading to more frequent extreme weather events.   Read More »

New CRP: Generic Approach for the Development of Genetic Sexing Strains for SIT Applications (D44003). The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture will launch a new six-year (2019-2024) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), ‘Generic Approach for the Development of Genetic Sexing Strains for SIT Applications’ (D44003).   Read More »

Developing area-wide SIT against the European grape vine moth (Lobesia botrana) in Chile. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is being developed by IAEA and FAO as a key component of an IPM approach for suppression and eradication of this invasive pest. Recently, project counterparts from the Servicio Agricola y Ganadero (SAG) of Chile together with the grape producers and exporters organized the first ever pilot release of sterile L. botrana moths.   Read More »

IAEA Supports the Protection and Production of Ecuador’s Most Valuable Fruits. Ecuador is the second largest exporter of avocados, bananas, mangos and other tropical fruits in Latin America and the Caribbean. In recent years, however, Ecuador’s Sierra region has been affected by the growing preponderance of Anastrepha fruit flies, which affect agricultural productivity by puncturing the membrane of fruits to lay eggs.   Read More »

Another great achievement: The reorganized suite of fruit fly standards are now available in English on the IPP! ISPMs 26, 30, 35 and 37 have successfully been reorganized to reflect the decisions of CPM-13 (2018). This reorganization made the suite of fruit fly standards more logical and simple, which will help in their implementation and facilitate safe trade. Decision CPM-13 Read More » and Explanation of fruit fly ISPMs reorganization   Read More »

Productive Cattle Breeds Thrive in Senegal’s Niayes Region as a Result of Tsetse Suppression. In Senegal, as in many other parts of West Africa, African animal trypanosomosis (AAT), a deadly disease carried by the tsetse fly, has long been a major obstacle to the development of more efficient and sustainable livestock production systems.   Read More »

Irradiated Fruit Flies: Protecting Thailand's Fruit Exports. Fruit flies used to destroy export crops in Chanthaburi province, Thailand before nuclear scientists found a way to control their numbers without using pesticides. The Sterile Insect Technique is already having a large effect on the local economy.   Read More »

Irradiated Fruit Flies: the Secret to Protecting Thailand's Premium Fruit Exports. Trok Nong, Thailand – Five million irradiated fruit flies burst out of white boxes every Saturday and race to stop female flies from breeding larvae-filled eggs in Trok Nong, a small rural town in eastern Thailand.   Read More »

Machine learning can control tsetse flies. In 2014, Ms. Zelda Moran, of Columbia University, a researcher at the entomological laboratory of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, noticed that female and male tsetse pupae develop differently. Although tsetse-fly pupal cases are opaque, Ms. Moran found that in certain lighting conditions, such as infrared, it was possible to observe that the insects’ wings began to darken beforehand. In the case of females, this happens around 25-26 days after pupation. In the case of males it happens later: 27-29 days after pupation. In principle, that gives a way to sort the flies before they emerge from their pupae. This should simplify and increase efficiency of the production of tsetse sterile males for SIT projects such as the one in Senegal. It might work on other species, too. Read More »

Hungry, Hungry Larvae: How Entomologists Design the Diet for Mass-Reared Screwworm Flies. At COPEG, the Panama – United States Commission for the Eradication and Prevention of New World Screwworm (NWS), approximately 20 million sterilized screwworm flies (Cochliomyia hominivorax, Coquerel) are reared every week and release in the field as part of the biological barrier at the Daren Gap aimed at protecting NWS free areas north of the barrier. All those flies need to eat, entomologists’ work to refine their latest formulation for the mass-reared screwworm larvae diet. Read More »

Tiny pest, big problem: South Africa's citrus challenge. The false coddling moth has been plaguing South Africa's citrus crops, putting this lucrative industry in danger. Now farmers are working with top scientists to sterilize these pests and keep this industry growing. View Video »(Source: CNN)

African Insect Experts Meet in Ghana to Discuss Fruit Fly Suppression. A mid-term coordination meeting for a regional IAEA technical cooperation project[1] on the detection, surveillance and suppression of exotic and established fruit fly species was held in Accra, Ghana, from 23-27 July 2018. Read More »

NEW CRP: Simultaneous Application of SIT and MAT to Enhance Pest Bactrocera Management D41027. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre is launching a new five-year Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to assess the simultaneous application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and the Male Annihilation Technique (MAT) to enhance Bactrocera fruit fly management. Read More »

Tackling an Environmental Emergency in the Galapagos: Identifying Strategies to Combat the Invasive Parasitic Fly Philornis downsi. Stakeholders and international experts met at IAEA headquarters in Vienna from 11 to 13 June 2018 to discuss an environmental emergency in the Galapagos Islands: a parasitic fly infestation that is causing high mortality amongst some bird species. Read More »

International Research Project Explores Novel Strategies to Improving the Sterile Insect Technique to Eradicate Tsetse Flies Through Enhancing Males Refractoriness to Trypanosome Infection. Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) are the only cyclical vectors of two debilitating diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, sleeping sickness in humans (human African trypanosomosis, HAT) and nagana in livestock (African animal trypanosomosis, AAT). Read More »

Latin American Countries Combat Screwworm Pest through IAEA Project . Latin American countries have started work with the IAEA and its partners to prevent the re-introduction of the New World screwworm into Central and North America from where it has been eradicated and build capacity for the suppression and eventual eradication of this insect pest in some regions of South America and the Caribbean. Read More »

Transboundary shipment of sterile insects. Transboundary shipment of sterile insects has taken place on a continuous basis for 55 years. The total number of sterile insects shipped has been estimated at over 1 trillion in thousands of shipments across borders to 23 recipient countries from 50 sterile insect factories in 25 countries. During this long period and many precedents, no problems associated with possible hazards have been identified, and thus the shipment of sterile insects have never been subjected to any regulatory action. Transboundary shipments started in 1963 with the shipments of sterile Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens, Loew), from Monterrey, Mexico, to Texas, USA. Read More »
For more information on packing, shipping, holding and release of sterile insects see: Guideline-for-Packing.pdf.

Dashboard for Managers of Sterile Insect Technique Production Facilities. The Dashboard is composed of an Excel spreadsheet and a graphic display. It has been designed primarily for managers and staff as a working tool to monitor insect mass-rearing operations at production facilities. This mass-rearing metrics allows managers to follow their daily production performance in a Dashboard format. Monitoring operation activities helps to quickly identify production problems, take corrective actions, and measure their impact on improving processes and planning. Read More »

Update of the technical leaflet released in six languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests. Bactrocera zonata (peach fruit fly) sometimes overlaps in terms of distribution with Bactrocera dorsalis (Oriental fruit fly). A technical leaflet to help to discriminate among these two invasive pest species, was updated and produced in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. The leaflet will be useful for countries and regions where these species are present or at risk of incursion helping to implement the recommended emergency response and is now available to regulatory agencies, surveillance and identification staff, growers of horticultural products and other stakeholders. It was prepared by Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Ian White (formerly research associate Natural History Museum, UK).

IAEA Conducts Successful Test of Drones in Fight Against Disease-Transmitting Mosquitos. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its partners have successfully tested releasing sterile mosquitos from drones as part of efforts to use a nuclear technique to supress the insect that spreads Zika and other diseases. Read More »

Moscamed Brasil Receives IAEA Collaborating Centre Designation. Moscamed Brasil has been designated as a Collaborating Centre of the IAEA for the period 2018-2022 in relation to its programmes to combat the disease-carrying Aedes mosquito. Read More »

IAEA Helps Member States in Europe Develop Insect Pest Control Protocols. As part of a three-year (2016-2019) regional technical cooperation project, the IAEA, in close cooperation with FAO, is working with its European Member States to promote the transfer and application of the environmentally-friendly sterile insect technique (SIT) against invasive mosquito species. Read More »

Executive Report: Current Situation of the New World Screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), on the Countries Participating in the Regional Project RLA5067 of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Report of the review and planning meeting under the framework of the Technical Cooperation Project RLA5067 and the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Applications in Agriculture Vienna, Austria 12-16 December 2016 (Report available only in Spanish). Read More »

IAEA Director General Visits Thailand: Highlights Potential of Sterile Insect Technique to Fight Disease-vector Mosquitoes. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited Bangkok, Thailand this week, where in his meetings with senior officials he discussed a range of development areas where nuclear applications play a vital role. Read More »

IAEA Director General Visits Philippines: Discusses Support for Nuclear Techniques in Food Security, Health and Nuclear Power. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano met with senior officials during his visit to the Philippines last week, and in discussions with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, he was briefed about the country’s consideration of a possible future nuclear power infrastructure. Read More »

Argentina Uses Nuclear Technology to Control Insect Pests. After its success in controlling a devastating fruit fly with nuclear technology, Argentina is gearing up to fight a new enemy: mosquitoes that transmit Zika, in addition to dengue and chikungunya. Read More »

IAEA Superior Achievement Award 2017 - Mediterranean Fruit Fly Eradication in the Dominican Republic. The team from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, and the Latin America and the Caribbean Division, Department of Technical Cooperation, was presented with the prestigious IAEA Superior Achievement Award for its exceptional commitment, dedication, professional rigour and initiative. Read More »

Costa Rica Aims to Tackle Harmful Flies with the Help of Wasps and Nuclear Technology. A group of Costa Rican experts has demonstrated that using a tiny wasp and nuclear technology can control the stable fly, a pest that is causing losses to pineapple producers and cattle breeders in Costa Rica and beyond. The pilot project was supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Nuclear Technique Helps Prevent Insects From Harming Your Coffee Beans. Recent studies have shown that the Mediterranean fruit fly inflicts economic damage to coffee production by reducing weight of the coffee bean and affecting quality. The sterile insect technique integrated with other control methods is being used to control the pest protecting coffee production and industry. Watch Video En / Sp »

Nuclear Technique Helps Dominican Republic Eradicate Insect Pest That Hurt Agricultural Sector. The Dominican Republic today officially declared in a ceremony in the capital Santo Domingo that it has eradicated a major agricultural pest, the Mediterranean fruit fly, and that it is now free of the insect, two years after an outbreak led to considerable damage to its agricultural industry. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other stakeholders, provided assistance to the Dominican Republic to suppress the agricultural pest using the Sterile Insect Technique. Read More »

Prevention Rather Than Crisis Reaction Protects US Horticulture Industry from Medflies. One piece of fruit in a traveller’s backpack portends disaster if the fruit also contains hitchhiking larvae of the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) – larvae that could escape inspection at port of entry and initiate an infestation. In the mid-1990s, California and Florida, the main USA horticulture-producing states, initiated area-wide preventive and continuous releases of sterile male medflies over high-risk areas – a pest control endeavour that has substantially reduced overall cost and prevented establishment of the pest. Read More »

Third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques. The Conference was held from 22 - 26 May 2017 at the Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria. The successful conference was attended by 360 delegates from 81 countries, six international organization, and nine exhibitors. See all presentations »

Stinging Wasps Replace Chemical Pesticides becoming Control Agents in Fighting Stable Flies. Costa Rica’s position as the world’s largest producer of pineapple brings with it a parallel problem for the country’s livestock and dairy industry: the aggressive and blood-sucking stable fly, a fly that can wreak havoc on cattle and affect their productivity. In efforts to control the fly without resorting to chemical spraying, Costa Rica resorts to using a wasp, a natural enemy of the stable fly, as a biocontrol agent. Read More »

Fewer Flies, More Fruit in Jordan Valley Orchards. In the Jordan Valley over 1.5 million sterilized flies are released twice a week in a selected area of 400 hectares of citrus and stone fruits, leading to medfly population suppression and effective protection of fruit production with no harm to the environment. Read More »

The Third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques is taking place this week in Vienna, Austria, to discuss new developments, trends and challenges related to insect pest management. The conference is part of the efforts of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to assist Member States address the rapidly evolving field of insect pest management. See video on area-wide insect pest management. View Video »

At the Mexico-Guatemala border, the sterile insect technique halts the northward march of medflies since 1982. Imagine an area of nearly 200 000 km2 that needs to be monitored on a daily basis – monitored for the presence of a destructive insect smaller than a fingernail. More than four decades ago the governments of Mexico, Guatemala and the United States, and later also Belize, agreed to work together to eradicate and contain the spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly through an effective area-wide integrated pest management technology involving the sterile insect technique. Read More »

International Database on Commodity Tolerance (IDCT). A source of information that gathers and interprets the literature about commodity quality after phytosanitary irradiation treatment. It should aid stakeholders in Member States to identify the doses of radiation that are tolerated by different commodities including fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers in planning for commercial use of the technology. The information may also help users of the technology determine optimum methods of applying irradiation and scientists to identify gaps and inconsistencies in current knowledge. Read More »

IAEA Inaugurates New Laboratory to Help Countries Fight Insect Pests. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today opened the doors of a new laboratory to help countries use a nuclear technique to combat insect pests that spread disease and damage crops, such as mosquitoes and fruit flies. Read More »

IAEA Helps Burkina Faso Scale Up Fight Against Tsetse Flies. Burkina Faso today inaugurated the largest insect rearing facility in West Africa to apply a nuclear technique to suppress the tsetse fly, an insect harmful to both humans and animals. The plant was built with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in a move to help control one of Africa’s most devastating cattle diseases, Nagana. Read More »

Teamwork Award from FAO-AG Department to IPPC-IAEA Joint Team on the Fruit Fly Standards. On 26 January 2017 an award for exceptional teamwork was conferred on the cross-UN agency team consisting of staff from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and staff from the Standard setting unit of the IPPC Secretariat. The award is an honour bestowed upon staff of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of FAO who carry out activities through exceptional teamwork that have a major impact on meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the FAO strategic objectives. Read More »

Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance. The Symposium took place in May 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The document contains thirty-four papers on a broad range of topics concerning fruit flies, including area-wide programmes, control methods and supporting technology, chemical ecology and attractants, biology, ecology, physiology and behaviour, the Sterile Insect Technique, natural enemies and biological control, and risk analysis. Read More »

New Method Advances Research on Controlling Mosquitoes Using Nuclear Techniques. A pioneering method unveiled last month to separate a million Aedes male and female mosquitoes a day could be a major step towards using the nuclear-based sterile insect technique (SIT) to control the insects that transmit diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. The prototype is capable of differentiating male and female mosquitoes via artificial vision and then eliminating the females with the use of laser beams. Read More »

IAEA Hosts Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Experts on Fight against Screwworm Pest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is hosting an expert meeting this week to discuss stepping up efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat the New World Screwworm, a flesh-eating pest that remains a threat to livestock in that region. Prior to its eradication in North and Central America using an integrated pest control approach with sterile insects, it caused economic losses estimated at over $1.5 billion per year. Read More »

The FAO/IAEA and USDA joined hands to help eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak from the Dominican Republic with assistance from regional organizations like IICA and OIRSA. Containment, suppression and eradication actions started since the first medfly detection in March 2015 using an area-wide integrated control based on the sterile insect technique (SIT). Substantial progress in the medfly eradication process has been made. Currently actions are being conducted over an area of 300 km2 where some localized and isolated medfly outbreaks still remain. Read More » Watch Photo Essay »

Research into fruit fly taxonomy adds knowledge of cryptic species on the family tree. Accurate fruit fly taxonomy is crucial to assess which species are present or absent in a given area. This, in turn, provides a scientific basis for countries to set up import regulations according to international phytosanitary standards and to develop appropriate and effective fruit fly surveillance and control methods including the sterile insect technique. A major study has now found several inaccuracies in current taxonomic classification. This has significant implications for international trade and for pest control strategies. Read More »

9th Fruit Fly Meeting of the Western Hemisphere. The meeting was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 16 to 21, 2016. It was attended by 313 participants from 26 countries, including researchers from the scientific and academic field, plant protection officers from public agencies, fruit grower representatives and companies providing inputs and services. One innovation at this meeting was the session on "Political and socio-economic analysis of action programs", consisting of a panel discussion with representatives of the national plant protection agencies and regional organizations (OIRSA, NAPPO, CPHD, COSAVE and IICA).
Read More in Spanish and English »

Special Issue on Inherited Sterility Programs against Moth Pests. Lepidopteran species are amongst the most damaging pests of food and fiber crops world-wide. However, in view of increased occurrence of resistance against insecticides, and their negative impacts on the environment, more effective and environmentally friendly methods are needed. Both the sterile insect technique (SIT), and the related inherited sterility (IS) technique offer great potential as additional moth management tools. From 2008 to 2014 an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project focused on increasing the efficiency of Lepidoptera SIT/IS by enhanced sterile moth quality control. The research outputs of the CRP are have been published in 25 scientific articles compiled in a Special Issue of the Florida Entomologist. Read More »

Twenty years after eradication of tsetse from Zanzibar. September 2016 marks the 20th year after the successful eradication of tsetse flies from Unguja island of Zanzibar was declared. Mark Vreysen, Head of the Seibersdorf Laboratories of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, describes the achievement and the resulting benefits to the inhabitants of Unguja Island. Read More »

Success stories on the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) and other related nuclear techniques. The stories present a brief summary of the successful application of SIT for prevention, containment and eradication as well as other applications of nuclear energy such as for enhancing biological control. It also presents a topic related to fruit fly taxonomy that highlights the importance of accurate identification for SIT application. Read More »

Breakthrough IAEA Infrared Imaging Research Reveals Insect Development in Chrysalis. No one in the history of studying insects had ever observed fly pupae without first physically breaking their shells. That was until last month, when researchers at the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) used near infrared imaging to allow continuous observation of the entire development process of living pupae without disruption. Read More »

Infrared Video Shows Tsetse Fly Development from Pupa to Adult. Researchers working at the Seibersdorf Laboratories of the Insect Pest Control Section have developed a fascinating technique for sexing tsetse flies during the pupal phase. Sexing of insects reared for sterile male release is of great importance to the success of SIT, especially when both sexes have the potential to transmit disease-causing parasites when they feed. Read More »

How a Nuclear Technique Helped Save the Western Cape’s Orange Industry. The sterile insect technique successfully applied to control false codling moth, substantially reducing damage and allowing effective control without the use of insecticides. Read More »

Edward Knipling and Raymond Bushland Win Award for the Sterile Insect Technique. The technique has been heralded as “the only truly original innovation in insect control in [the 20th] century”. The two demonstrated that they could inflict mass sterilization of insects through irradiation —one of the first peaceful uses of nuclear radiation. Read More »

Standard operation procedure manual for sterile Tsetse release. This manual describes the standard procedures involved in preparing tsetse flies reared in a breeding facility for release in the field for the sterile insect technique (SIT) as a component of Area-Wide Insect Pest Management (AW-IPM). Following the procedures outlined will help to ensure that the released sterile male tsetse flies are of optimal quality. Read More »

South Africa diversifies the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) for pest control. South African Experts Advance in Researching Nuclear Technique to Fight Sugarcane Pests and Malaria. After the successful area-wide application of the SIT against the false codling moth in citrus areas, the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) is now is developing with support from the IAEA and the FAO the technology for control of the Eldana moth, an economic pest of sugarcane in the country. Moreover, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has also made progress in developing the SIT against Anopheles arabiensis mosquito, which is a vector of malaria. Read More »

Interview with Jorge Hendrichs, head of the Insect Pest Control section.
It is feasible to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly from the Dominican Republic. (in Spanish only). Read More »

One Step Closer to Enhancing Food Security and Facilitating Trade. To limit the international spread of pests and diseases that harm plants –from fruits, vegetables, grains to trees– it is essential to know which plants a pest will use to reproduce. These plants are called hosts, as they host or harbour pests that are transported when the plants are moved and traded, with the risk of the pests spreading. Ten years ago the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) community agreed that a standard was needed on how to determine whether a specific fruit may host damaging fruit flies. Ten years of dialogue, drafts and consultations were needed before the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) on Determination of host status of fruit to fruit flies (Tephritidae) was adopted. Read More »

A Closer Look at a Nuclear Technique in the Fight Against this Infectious Disease.
World Malaria Day: The IAEA supports research and development to help find new solutions and strategies to continue the fight against malaria. The sterile insect technique, as part of an integrated vector management approach, is one of these promising innovations. Read More »

IAEA Board of Governors Approves 2.3 Million Euro Project to Help Combat Zika. A new 2.3 million euro initiative will help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean fight the Zika virus with a nuclear technique that has been used to suppress various insect pests. The initiative complements immediate IAEA support provided to countries in the region in the wake of the Zika outbreak to help rapid detection of the virus. The IAEA will transfer the sterile insect technique (SIT), a form of pest control that uses ionizing radiation to sterilize male insects mass-produced in special rearing facilities. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), spearheads global research in the development and application of SIT. Read More »

IAEA Helps Brazil Step up the Fight Against ‘Zika’ Mosquitoes. The IAEA in cooperation with the Brazilian Ministry of Health, organized a meeting as part of the response to the current Zika outbreak in Central and South America. The meeting was aimed at discussing current status of the methods available to fight the disease-transmitting mosquitoes and draw recommendations on the potential use of mosquito SIT. The World Health Organization declared Zika an international public health emergency earlier this month. Read More »

Drones for Good 2016: FAO/IAEA’s ROMEO system for aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes finishes 4th place among over 1000 entries. Team ROMEO (Remotely Operated Mosquito Emission Operation) is a collaborative project between the mosquito group of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and the German drone manufacturer Height Tech. Together they designed an unmanned aerial release vehicle (UAV) capable of transporting and releasing sterile male mosquitoes by air. Release by UAV would be cheaper and quicker than current ground release techniques and allow a better distribution and releases in sites inaccessible by road. Read More »

Manual to Differentiate Wild Mediterranean Fruit Flies Ceratitis capitata (Wied.) from non-irradiated (Fertile) and Irradiated (Sterile) VIENNA Temperature Sensitive Lethal Strain Flies. This manual is a product of recent studies on the effect of gamma radiation on testes and ovaries of the VIENNA Mediterranean fruit fly temperature sensitive lethal (TSL) genetic sexing strains, which are being used in most Mediterranean fruit fly mass-rearing facilities in the world. It includes standardised and updated procedures to determine the fertility or sterility of adults of these strains. Consequently, this is a very useful document to support SIT based area-wide integrated pest management programmes that release VIENNA Mediterranean fruit fly TSL strains. Read More »

Guideline for packing, shipping, holding and release of sterile flies in area-wide fruit fly control programmes. This 2nd edition of the guideline is an updated version of the original FAO/IAEA guideline published by FAO in 2007. The majority of the procedures described in this guideline were initially designed specifically for the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wied.). Nevertheless, these can be applied with some modifications to other tephritid pest species of the genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera and Dacus. The guideline is designed to be a working document, subject to periodic reviews and updates based on new developments in SIT technology. Future editions will endeavour to include more specific recommendations for other species of fruit flies as the relevant data become available. Read More »

An FAO/IAEA research coordination meeting is held in Vienna on mosquito handling, transport, release and monitoring, in support of developing the sterile insect technique against disease-transmitting vectors. During the week of the 23-27 November 36 participants from 19 countries were hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of a new 5-year coordinated research project aiming to develop innovative equipment and techniques for the release of sterile male mosquitoes and population surveillance to monitor the impact on mosquito populations. These activities and resulting collaborations will build on the work of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL). Read More »

Training Future Managers Today for Controlling the Insect Pests of Tomorrow. From combating malaria-carrying mosquitos to protecting fruit from flies, long-term sustainability of insect pest control using nuclear techniques requires a solid technical foundation and strong management skills locally, agreed participants of a recent training course organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Special Issue on an FAO/IAEA completed CRP on cryptic species. Among the currently recognized major fruit fly pests, there are groups of species whose morphology is very similar or identical, but biologically they are distinct species. This uncertain taxonomic status has practical implications on the effective development and use of the SIT against such complexes. Furthermore, it significantly affects international movement of fruit and vegetables through the establishment of trade barriers to important agricultural commodities which are hosts to these pest tephritid species. Read More » Press Release »

IAEA provides emergency assistance for Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak in the Caribbean. In late 2014, an outbreak of Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) was detected in Punta Cana, a major tourist area in eastern Dominican Republic. Until that time, Hispaniola and all other islands of the Caribbean were free of the medfly, one of the worst horticultural pests, which attacks over 250 types of fruits and vegetables. A major eradication effort is being undertaken by the Agricultural Authorities of the country with the support of IAEA and FAO and other stakeholders including the Moscamed Program Guatemala/Mexico, USDA, OIRSA, IICA and the horticultural industry. Read More »

Standard Operational Procedures to Detect and Manage Glossina pallidipes Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus (GpSGHV) in Tsetse Fly 'Factories'. Now an effective virus management package used to detect and manage the salivary gland hypertrophy virus in tsetse factories is available. This procedure includes the detection and monitoring the virus infection and using of antiviral drug combined with clean feeding system. Read More »

International Cooperation on Fruit Flies continues. The Technical Panel on Pest Free Areas and Systems Approaches for Fruit Flies (TPFF) made proposals for the reorganization of the fruit fly International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) to avoid duplication and further harmonize the guidance provided. The major change proposed was to include ISPM 30 as an annex of ISPM 35 because of the connection and subordinate nature of ISPM 30 to ISPM 35.The convened in Vienna from 19 to 23 October 2015. The TPFF is composed of 10 international fruit fly experts and includes a representative of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, which also hosted the meeting.
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Eight year study on tsetse fly populations in West Africa aimed at optimising eradication programmes. The FAO and IAEA have been supporting an 8 year study on the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis in West Africa that aimed at developing methodologies to optimise eradication programmes. Read More »

Blood Processing User’s Manual and Database for Tsetse Flies. Now an effective blood processing procedure used to feed tsetse flies is available. The procedure describes the collection of animal blood, radiation with gamma rays, preservation and storage in deep freeze and quality control assurance. Read More »

Zanzibar remains free of tsetse, 18 years after eradication was declared. A recent entomological and parasitological survey (2015), carried out jointly by independent experts and the Department of Veterinary Services of Zanzibar, has confirmed the continued tsetse-free status of the island, 18 years after eradication was declared. Full Story »

IAEA recognized for its contribution to Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication in Africa. The IAEA has been presented with a certificate recognizing technical support that is provided by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to member countries of the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). Full Story »

The Tsetse Fly Eradication Project in Senegal Wins Award for Best Sustainable Development Practices. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has been supporting the tsetse eradication project in the Niayes of Senegal for more than 10 years. The successful project has now been given a “Best Sustainable Development Practices” Award at the Milano Expo 2015 and selected for a photo story. Full Story »

Tackling the challenge of dosimetry in controlling insect pests. A recent regional dosimetry meeting held in in one of the FAO/IAEA’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, strengthens capacity in insect sterilization by improving knowledge and application of dosimetry to monitor irradiation.
Full Story »

Nuclear Techniques for Healthier Fruits: Regional Meeting seeks Collaboration in Control of Exotic and Established Fruit Fly Species in Africa. Tephritid fruit flies pose a serious threat to farming activities and require an integrated approach in order to reduce damage caused to the fruits. As part of an initiative to address this phytosanitary and socio-economic problem, the IAEA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security of Mauritius, held a regional training course and regional coordination meeting in Bagatelle, Mauritius. Full Story »

Controlling fruit fly pest by releasing sterile male insects. Fruit flies attack many important fruit crops, including citrus, mango, apples, peaches, apricots as well as some vegetables (especially cucurbits), seed crops and many wild plants. Economic implications of such attacks are not only reduced production and increased control costs, but also loss of export markets and/or the cost of establishing and maintaining phytosanitary measures. An efficient and cost-effective pest control technology is the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a biologically-based pest control method that, unlike pesticides, is environment-friendly and does not pose health concerns. Full Story [pdf] »

How a Nuclear Technique is Saving Citrus Fruits in Morocco, One Fly at a Time. Citrus crop losses due to fruit flies along with insecticide use in Morocco are both expected to drop as the country begins to develop capacities in using the Sterile Insect Technique.
The Joint Centre FAO/IAEA will provide technical support to the public and private sector of Morocco to eventually produce around 200 million sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies per week and release them over 100 000 hectares of agricultural production areas. Full Story »

World Malaria Day: How a Nuclear Technique Could Provide a Future Method for Mosquito Control. According to the World Health Organization, approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria and around half a million people die of the disease each year. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in Africa, where one child dies from malaria every minute. Dengue leads to an estimated 12 500 deaths annually, mainly among children, and the incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. Full Story » Multimedia »

IAEA and FAO providing support to Moroccan horticultural industry to manage Mediterranean Fruit Fly through the Sterile Insect Technique. The Mediterranean fruit fly is among the most devastating of pests for agricultural crops. Insecticide applications are routinely used to control them but this is not sustainable in view of the development of insecticide resistance and negative impacts on humans and the environment, as well as on international trade. Full Story »

IAEA Impact: Senegal Nears First Victory in Eradicating Tsetse Flies in Niayes region with the technical assistance of the Insect Pest Control Section from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme in Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. Full Story »

Best Sustainable Development Practices on Food Security - Expo Milano 2015.
The FAO/IAEA project "Eradication of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes in Senegal" was among 18 selected for "Best Sustainable Development Practices on Food Security" by an International Selection Committee from among 749 proposals admitted to the final evaluation process for Expo Milano 2015. Full Story »

Okanagan - Kootenay Sterile Insect Release program up for international award. The FAO/IAEA Insect Pest Control Sub-programme (IPCS) has been collaborating with the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release (OKSIR) programme for many years. Conversely, the OKSIR programme has hosted fellows and scientific visits, as part of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Projects on the codling moth. In view of its successful implementation for more than 20 years and the significant impact the OKSIR programme has had on the reduction of insecticide use in the Okanagan Valley, the IPCS fully endorses the nomination of the OKSIR programme for this prestigious International IPM Achievement Award. Full Story »

The Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is part of an EU-funded Innovative Training Network. Food security for human societies is a major challenge because it is continuously threatened by pest species. Producers use pesticides to control them, but regulations for the use of pesticides are getting stricter to ensure food safety and protect the environment. One option to replace the use of pesticides is by using biocontrol approaches including sterile insect technique (SIT). BINGO (Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation BioControl), which is an EU-funded Innovative Training Network, aims to advance current knowledge in biocontrol practice. The Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is part of this network by supporting research with a focus on testing whether symbiotic bacteria play an important role in the nutrition and fitness of the olive fruit fly and its parasitoid Psyttalia lounsburyi towards developing an area-wide Integrated Pest Management of the olive fruit fly. Full Story in Spanish»

Special Issue in BMC Genetics of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Development and Evaluation of Improved Strains of Insect Pests for Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) Applications. This supplement contains the working papers which were produced in the frame of the FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP) entitled "Development and evaluation of improved strains of insect pests for sterile insect technique (SIT) applications". The CRP was initiated in 2009 and was completed in 2014. Full Story »

Special Issue in International Journal of Tropical Insect Science of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Development of Mass-Rearing for African, Asian and New World Fruit Fly Pests in Support of the Sterile Insect Technique. The papers presented in this special issue of the International Journal of Tropical Insect Science are focused on developing and validating procedures for artificial rearing of selected fruit fly species of economic importance for use in area-wide integrated pest programmes with an SIT component. Full Story »

Special Issue in Acta Tropica of an FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project on Applying GIS and Population Genetics for Managing Livestock Insect Pests: Case Studies on Tsetse and Screwworm Flies. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have supported from 2008 to 2013 a Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on ‘Applying GIS and population genetics for managing livestock insect pests’. Full Story »

Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Programme (OKSIR) in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Staff of the FAO/IAEA’s Insect Pest Control sub programme participated, as part of a team of 6 international experts, in an external review of the Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Programme (OKSIR) in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The OKSIR programme is the longest running (initiated in 1989) successful area-wide integrated pest management programme against the codling moth, a devastating pest of pome fruits in most temperate regions of the world. The programme integrates the release of sterile male moths with orchard sanitation and mating disruption. The group of experts reviewed in detail all technical and administrative aspects of the programme and was in general very much impressed by the obtained results of the programme, i.e. less than 0.2% damage in more than 90% of all commercial pome fruit orchards and a reduced use of insecticides (>70%) per hectare of orchard. A recently completed benefit cost analysis (BCA) has shown that the economic benefits per hectare of the OKSIR programme were much higher than compared with using conventional insecticides. Full Story »

FAO-IAEA advices Australia on the management of the nation’s major horticulture pest, the Queensland fruit fly. Some of Australia’s leading research agencies are better equipped to manage the Queensland fruit fly after receiving advice from the Insect Pest Control Subprogram of the FAO/IAEA Centre for the application of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture. Funded by the Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA) and several core co-investors, the SITplus partnership aims to develop the capability to integrate in pilot areas the Sterile Insect Technology – a well-known technology that could transform the way this pest is managed in Australia and potentially New Zealand. Full Story » Press Release »

Sterilized Anopheles arabiensis males compete with wild males in locating and participating in mating swarms in Sudan. The application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) relies on the sterile males being able to mate with wild females after they are released. A study, recently published on the 12th December 2014 in Malaria Journal, by the Insect Pest Control Laboratory of the FAO/IAEA Agriculture & Biotechnology Laboratories in Austria in collaboration with the Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Sudan, demonstrated that irradiated Anopheles arabiensis males were able to locate and participate in mating swarms at a distance of up to 200 m within two hours of their release. Results also suggested that irradiated males may be able to initiate swarms, and point to the inclusion of a pre-release period as a means to increase their mating competitiveness. This observation crucially suggests that sterile males are able to participate and compete in courtship behaviour in the main mating arena observed in northern Sudan, the site along the Nile of a proposed pilot SIT programme against this vector of malaria, an encouraging indication of quality and performance of mass reared and irradiated male mosquitoes. Full Story »

Four devastating fruit flies pests are one and the same species. What difference could it possibly make if a bunch of scientists decided that what were once thought of as four different species of fruit fly actually belong to the same single species? Plenty, if the fruit flies in question are major plant pests, which these ones are. Full Story »

Four in one – new discovery on pest fruit flies. Four of the world's most destructive agricultural pests are actually one and the same fruit fly, according to the results of a global interdisciplinary research effort, involving close to 50 researchers from 20 countries, that was coordinated by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Full Story »

One STEP Ahead: New Industrial Irradiator Inaugurated in Ethiopia. A wet panoramic irradiator has been recently inaugurated in the tsetse mass rearing facility of Kality in Ethiopia. This installation is a major milestone that will enable the Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project to increase the rearing capacity of the insectary. It will mainly be used for the decontamination of the blood to feed the flies and for the sterilization of males to be released. Full Story »

Tsetse Fly Genome Breakthrough Brings Hope for African Farmers. Tsetse flies are the sole cyclical vectors of African trypanosomes to humans and animals in sub-Saharan Africa. The decoding of the genome of the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans is a major scientific achievement, it unravels the biological potential of this species and opens the door, in combination with the Sterile Insect Technique, for a more effective control of the pest and the disease. Full Story »

X-rays Can be Used to Sterilize Mosquitoes. New high dose self-contained X ray systems offer a practical alternative to isotopic sources for sterilizing insects for programmes using the Sterile Insect Technique. This alternative is used for mosquitoes sterilization ... Full Story »

How the FAO and IAEA are assisting the Government of Senegal in its efforts to eradicate tsetse from the Niayes area. In 2006, the Government of Senegal embarked on a project with the ultimate aim to create a sustainable G. p. gambiensis free area in the Niayes. The project has received technical and financial support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since its inception and has also benefited from the support of the USA (through its Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI)), and France (through the deployment of a CIRAD staff member on site in Senegal). Full Story »

Senegal nears first victory in war on tsetse fly. A campaign against the tsetse fly, a pest that transmits a disease that devastates livestock, in the Niayes area near the capital Dakar has radically reduced the fly population and is paving the way for complete eradication. Full Story »

Updated Mediterranean Fruit Fly Global Distribution Map. This updated map provides information on the distribution of the Mediterranean fruit fly, (Ceratitis capitata), throughout the world. Full Story »

The FAO/IAEA Tutorial DVD on Using Open Source GIS Techniques in Insect Pest Control Programmes. Area-wide insect pest control programmes rely on updated geospatial data for efficiently conducting and evaluating baseline data surveys and progress monitoring. Soft- and hardware available as geographic information system (GIS) packages are applied to analyse and understand these data for planning and implementing optimised pest intervention strategies. Full Story »

Glossina pallidipes tsetse colony in the Ethiopian Kality facility without salivary gland hypertrophy. Since 1999 salivary gland hypertrophy has been a major challenge to mass rear Glossina pallidipes tsetse flies from Ethiopia. Over the last eight years the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has conducted pioneering research to develop an effective salivary gland hypertrophy management strategy. The virus management package was transferred to the Kality mass rearing facility in Ethiopia, where it has been successfully implemented since 2012. Full Story »

Suppressing Tsetse Flies to Improve Lives. The Southern Rift Valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP) has made significant progress in recent years in suppressing tsetse flies in an area of 25,000 km2 in Ethiopia. With the support of the FAO/IAEA Joint Centre, sterile males of the species Glossina fuscipes reared in the Kality insectary are being released weekly from aircraft in the Deme Basin. Full Story » - Slideshow

Pacific Coastal Area in Southwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from 107 360 hectares (1 073 km2) located in the southwestern border with Mexico which include the departments of San Marcos, Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez and Quetzaltenango. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region.
Full Story »

The FAO/IAEA Spreadsheet for Designing and Operation of Insect Mass Rearing Facilities, has been recently released. The sterile insect technique has in many countries become an important control tactic for integration in area-wide integrated pest management programmes against fruit flies of economic importance. An important prerequisite of these programmes is the availability of adequate numbers of sterile male flies that are produced in large mass-rearing facilities. Full Story »

Better Fruit For Neretva Valley. Farmers in Croatia are using nuclear technology to tackle the Mediterranean fruit fly, a common pest that poses a serious threat to the country's lucrative fruit industry. With the support of the IAEA and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Croatia is implementing the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Technical leaflet released in three languages on the discrimination between two invasive Bactrocera fruit fly pests. During the 2nd International TEAM Meeting (Tepthritid Workers of Europe, Africa and the Middle East) in Kolymbari, Crete, Greece (see page 128 of the abstract book at www.teamfly2012.com), Salah, Abdelgader and Villiers reported that in July 2011, the invasive fruit fly pest Bactrocera zonata was recorded for the first time in Sudan from traps in three locations in Wad Medani, Gezira, Sudan. As this is a region where another methyl eugenol responding fruit fly pest already exists (B. invadens) and to help Sudan and other African countries to discriminate among these two invasive pest species, a technical leaflet in Arabic, English and French was prepared to help with differentiation between specimen of B. invadens and B. zonata. It was prepared by Marc De Meyer (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium) and Ian White (Natural History Museum, UK) and has been distributed electronically to the African participants of the TEAM meeting.

Joining Forces in the Fight Against Dengue Fever. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is currently taking the initiative for a sustained cooperation with the IAEA to promote the contribution of nuclear science and technology for the management of vector-borne diseases - in particular dengue fever. Therefore a workshop with international experts was held at the IAEA to discuss the integrated control of Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the dengue virus. Full Story »

Battling Bugs - IAEA Pest Eradication Work Boosts Guatemalan Produce Exports. The IAEA, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), helped deploy sterile insect technology (SIT), a nuclear application, to assist in curbing Guatemala's fruit fly population, thereby providing a host of new jobs and at least doubling, over four years, export earnings from non-traditional agricultural export crops of tomatoes, ... Read More »

Los Huistas Region in Northwestern Guatemala Declared Mediterranean Fruit Fly Free Area. The Mediterranean fruit fly was eradicated from Los Huistas region, Guatemala. This 220 000 hectares (2 200 km2) area is located in the northwestern border with Mexico. The pest was eradicated using sterile males of the Vienna-7 genetic sexing strain developed at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, and produced in the world's largest insect mass rearing facility at El Pino, Guatemala. This achievement will allow the export of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the region. Full Story »

Costa Rica exports "gourmet" tomato to the international market based on a successful technical cooperation projects supported by the IAEA and FAO. Costa Rica has now joined Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as Member States that have build their success as exporters of vegetables to lucrative markets around FAO/IAEA pest control cooperation projects. Full Story »

Review of the Ethiopian Tsetse Eradication Project STEP. An IAEA delegation, headed by Deputy Director General Mr. Werner Burkart, discussed with Ethiopian partners in Addis Ababa, 20 - 23 July 2010, the status of the IAEA- and FAO-supported Southern rift valley Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP). The project intends to expand the tsetse suppression operations to some 25 000 km² in the next 1-2 years. It is anticipated that, once developed for large scale application in Ethiopia, the sterile insect technique (SIT) will complement the area-wide and integrated pest management efforts". Full Story »

Significant damage was avoided to the ecosystem based on prickly pear in Mexico thanks to the eradication of Cactus Moth outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico. The cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) is a great threat to important Opuntia crops of Mexico. Opuntia cacti have a great economic, environmental and cultural significance to the people of Mexico. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Isla Contoy, Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean. Full Story »

Balkan States Consider Sterile Insect Technique Against Mediterranean Fruit Fly
Fruit farmers in Southern Europe have been struggling for decades in a losing battle against the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, which is one of the world´s most destructive farm pests, since it lays its eggs in fruit and vegetables. Full Story »

Eradication of Cactus Moth Outbreaks from Caribbean islands of Mexico
The Mexican Government has officially announced that the Cactus Moth Cactoblastis cactorum, a serious threat to all prickly pear cactus species, has been eradicated from the island of Mujeres and island of Contoy, in the Mexican Caribbean, two years after the pest was first detected. Full Story »

No Love for Deadly Mosquitoes
In steamy sites ranging from Sudan to Tahiti, Mozambique to the United States, researchers are studying the sex life of the male mosquito - in order to halt reproduction.Why? Mosquitoes can be deadly carriers of disease, including malaria and yellow fever. Full Story »

Screw Worm Outbreak in Yemen
An outbreak of the insidious ´screw worm´ fly in Yemen, is threatening livelihoods, in a country where rearing livestock is a traditional way of life. In recent weeks, a Ministerial delegation was at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, to turn to the international community for emergency assistance to fight the deadly pest. Full Story »

Tacna and Moquegua Regions in Southern Peru Declared Fruit Fly Free Areas
The Animal and Plant Health Service (SENASA) of Peru, a decentralized public institution of the Ministry of Agriculture, has informed that Peru, after more than 20 years of dedicated efforts has achieved the eradication of very destructive horticultural fruit fly pests. Full Story »

The Middle East's Fruitful Valley
[...] Scientists, politicians, and farmers from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are winning a long and largely invisible fight against the odds. Their common foe: the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests. Full Story »

Sterile Insect Technique Success in the Middle East Attracts International Media Attention
Under IAEA Technical Cooperation projects in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with additional extrabudgetary support from USAID's Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) funds, FAO/IAEA technology was transferred for area-wide Mediterranean fruit fly control, including the use of the environment-friendly Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Full Story »

Educational Resources for Agricultural Insect Pest Control - The ABC´s of S-I-T
A technology known simply as SIT has played an instrumental role over the past four decades in helping countries to protect their agricultural economies by controlling pests that threaten harvests. Today, more and more countries are interested in applying SIT, the sterile insect technique, as part of their food, health and animal protection campaigns. Full Story »

Science, Sex, Superflies - The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
A spin-off of nuclear science and technology has changed the dynamics of a complex mating game. Along the way, it has spawned success stories - some small, some large - from Asia to Africa to the Americas during the IAEA´s first half century. Full Story »

World´s Second Biggest Sterile Insect Mass Production Facility Opens in Valencia for Medfly Suppression
Spain´s citrus fruit stands to become more competitive in international markets, thanks to expanded use of a pest control technology rooted in applications of nuclear science. A new pest-control facility - Europe´s first such large-scale plant - opened in Valencia in late April that experts say will cut the use of pesticides and protect citrus fruit from the destructive Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). Full Story »

California´s Terminator
Californians have been battling the Medfly since Ronald Reagan governed the golden state. The invasive pest is among the worst threats to the state´s multi-billion dollar fruit and agricultural industry. Full Story »

Chile´s Leading Edge - South America´s Top Fruit Exporter Shows the Way
"The success we´ve had against fruit flies is the driving force for our fruit and vegetable industry. It shows the value of international cooperation and our bi-national control efforts with Peru and collaboration with Argentina and other neighbours," [...]. Full Story »

Argentina Poised for Growth in Export Markets - IAEA & FAO Help Country Meet Fruit Trade Goal
Argentina is poised to expand its export markets for apples, pears and other fruit from the agricultural fields of Patagonia, citing the IAEA and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for helping the country achieve the goal. Full Story »

Fruit Flies Fall and Markets Grow - Nicaragua, South Africa Among Latest Countries Citing FAO/IAEA Support
In the Americas and South Africa, science is on a roll and fruit fly pests are dropping like... well... they´re dropping like flies. The results are higher quality products, reduced insecticide use, and more profitable markets, especially to big consumers like the United States. Full Story »

Campaign Launched to Eliminate Tsetse Fly, which has Turned Much of Africa into a Green Desert
A new campaign to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa, parasitic carrier of sleeping sickness, has been launched by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Full Story »

A Programme for the Eradication of the New World Screwworm from North Africa - The New Screwworm Fly in Libya: A Review of its Introduction and Eradication
The two documents provide details on the planning and results of the New World Screwworm eradication programme in North Africa. The New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) became established in the Old World for the first time during 1988, in the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Full Story »

Defeating the Medfly
In December 1995, Chile's long battle with the Mediterranean fruit fly was officially declared over, marking a major victory for the country's farming community. Full Story »

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Plant Breeding

Tastier and More Nutritious Vegetables: Bulgaria Improves Food Quality with IAEA Support. Bulgaria, one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe, has long been a major exporter of various food products. With gradually warming temperatures over the past decades, farmers have seen the yield and quality of key crops fall. Read More »

Double the Yield, Double the Harvest: Zanzibar Improves Rice Production Using Nuclear Techniques(Photo Essay). Read More »

Nuclear Technology Helps to Develop Heat-Tolerant Tomato Varieties in Mauritius. Faced with global warming temperatures, the Indian Ocean country of Mauritius turned to nuclear technology to develop new tomato varieties that can thrive. Read More »

Drought Tolerant Crops: IAEA and FAO Help Zambia Improve Production and Farmers' Income. This year’s World Environment Day celebrates biodiversity – which includes the diversity within species, between species and the capacity of ecosystems to create diversity. Read More »

World Environment Day 2020: How the IAEA Contributes to Soil, Plant and Animal Biodiversity Two new varieties of cowpea, a major source of protein in Zambia, are being released to offer significantly improved yields and quality to farmers and the community at large. Read More »

Malaysia's Nuclear Agency and Partners Bring Improved Rice Variety to Country’s Farmers. Over the past few months, Malaysia’s nuclear agency, Nuclear Malaysia, has been multiplying seeds of a high-yielding rice variety developed through nuclear techniques. Read More »

IAEA and FAO Help Zanzibar Grow More Rice. Cheju, Zanzibar – With one of the fastest growing populations in Africa and a surge in tourism, Zanzibar needs more rice, and its farmers and authorities are turning to nuclear techniques for help. Read More »

Fighting Two Major Cassava Diseases in Burundi with Nuclear Technology. When Burundian cassava farmers split open the plant’s starchy root, they’re hoping to find white flesh that resembles coconut meat. Read More »

Climate-Proof Crops: Capacity Building to Develop Resilient Crop Varieties in Small Island Developing States. Climate change poses increasing risks to the entire global community, but its impact is particularly pronounced in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), whose isolation, smaller geographic size and direct exposure to sea-level rise and storm surges have exacerbated the effects of a changing climate. Read More »

Ethiopian Plant Breeders Turn to a Nuclear Technique to Help Teff Farmers Adapt to Climate Change. Bishoftu, Ethiopia – Teff may be an emerging superfood in the global arena – but this Ethiopian cereal crop may not be ‘super’ enough to withstand the consequences of climate change: less rain and strong winds. Read More »

From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »

IAEA, FAO Help Develop Bananas Resistant to Major Fungal Disease. Bananas may be the world’s favourite fruit, but plantations worldwide are increasingly under threat from a new fungus, which destroys banana plants threatening farmers’ livelihoods and the industry. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques Help Develop New Sorghum Lines Resistant to the Parasitic Weed Striga. Farmers in Africa will soon benefit from new sorghum varieties resistant to Striga — also known as witchweed — one of the most devasting parasitic weeds that impact crop yields on the continent. Read More »

Accelerating Growth: IAEA Launches Plant Mutation Breeding Network for Asia and the Pacific. With populations growing rapidly, particularly in Asia and the Pacific, farmers and scientists are all the more drawing on the benefits of using irradiation to develop new crop varieties and meet farmers’ needs: higher, stable yields and high-quality plants that can resist disease and climate change. Read More »

From Lab to Field: Indonesian Scientists Develop New Crops for Farmers Using Nuclear Science. Farmers in Indonesia have over the last few years grown enough rice for more than 20 million people using plants developed through the country’s plant mutation breeding programme. Read More »

How Nuclear Techniques Help Feed China. Beijing, China – With 19% of the world’s population but only 7% of its arable land, China is in a bind: how to feed its growing and increasingly affluent population while protecting its natural resources. Read More »

Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia. Farmers in Namibia now have new crop varieties of cowpea and sorghum that are more tolerant to drought and pests planted this year, thanks to nuclear technology provided with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

New CRP: Enhanced Biotic-stress Tolerance of Pulses Towards Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems for Climate-change Adaptation (D22006). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is announcing a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on biotic-stress tolerance in chickpea, cowpea and lentil, with a time frame of five years during 2019-2023. Read More »

NEW CRP: Disease Resistance in Rice and Wheat for Better Adaptation to Climate Change (D23032). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is announcing a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on disease resistance in rice and wheat with a time frame of four years. Read More »

IAEA Director General Visits Indonesia: Highlights Close Cooperation in Using Nuclear Technology. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano praised the cooperation between Indonesia and the IAEA in bringing the benefits of nuclear technology to countries in Asia and Africa, during his visit to the country earlier this week. Read More »

'Nuclear Package' Helps Farmers Increase Rice Yields and Income in Northern Malaysia. An integrated approach that includes a new rice variety, biofertilizer and plant growth promoter has made all the difference to rice farmer, Muhammad Helmi Mohd Noor and his neighbours in this northern Malaysian village. Read More »

Sweet Success with Nuclear: Malaysian Farmers to Grow Natural Sugar Substitute. Farmers in rural communities in East Malaysia will be able to grow a cash crop starting next year – thanks to nuclear science. Read More »

Fighting Climate Change, Doubling Incomes: Rice Variety Developed with Nuclear Techniques Expands in Indonesia. Stocky, strong and quick to ripen – that is how Indonesian farmers like their rice, and that is exactly what nuclear science has delivered to them. Read More »

Indonesia Selects Nuclear-bred Soybean Variety for Mass Production . Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture last month selected an improved soybean variety developed using nuclear techniques as the basis for its national self-sufficiency plan, which aims to increase food security in the country. Read More »

New IAEA Collaborating Centre to Advance Plant Mutation Breeding for Climate Change Resilience. A new agreement was signed between Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and the IAEA, designating the Center for Isotopes and Radiation Application (CIRA, BATAN) as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. Read More »

Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology. After years of insecurity and internal strife, authorities and scientists from the Central African Republic are again turning to nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for development. From increasing soil fertility to developing improved plant varieties and understanding their water resources, they are now picking up speed. Read More »

Bangladesh Plant Breeding Programme Adds Variety to the Seasonal Planting Calendar. The plant breeding programme of Bangladesh includes not only rice, still the country’s main crop, but a large variety of other crops that enable farmers to plant and harvest new crop varieties with synchronised maturation and growing seasons. This ability to plant a diversity of crops helps sustain local agricultural production and food security and represents billions of US dollars to the national economy. Read More »

Bangladesh Triples Rice Production with Help of Nuclear Science.
Mymensingh, Bangladesh — New varieties of rice made using nuclear techniques have helped Bangladesh increase its rice production three-fold in the last few decades. This in turn has enabled the country to stay one step ahead of its rapid population growth. Today there is a secure and steady supply of rice in Bangladesh, and the country is shifting from being an importer to an exporter of rice. Read More »

Cuban rice variety stays popular in Cuba’s fields and cuisine after almost 20 years. Cuban cooking represents a blend of many cuisines, including Spanish, African, Caribbean and Native American, with one ingredient connecting them all – rice. Rice is the central ingredient of so many dishes that per capita rice consumption is as high as 60 kg a year. To meet this demand, Cuba introduced the high-yielding INCA LP-7 mutant variety in 1997. It thrives in the Cuban climate, is tolerant to salinity and resists the panicle rice mites that plague Cuba’s rice fields. Read More »

New IAEA Collaborating Centre to Advance Plant Mutation Breeding for Climate Change Resilience. A new agreement was signed between Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and the IAEA, designating the Center for Isotopes and Radiation Application (CIRA, BATAN) as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. Read More »

Tackling Coffee Disease with Nuclear Science. Coffee is the world's most popular drink. But coffee plants are being threatened by coffee leaf rust, a fungal disease found in most coffee-producing countries. The IAEA, together with the FAO and co-sponsored by OFID, is training scientists how to use plant mutation breeding to develop coffee plant varieties that are resistant to this disease. Watch Video »

Pulses for a Sustainable Future. An event to celebrate the International Year of Pulses (2016) took place this week at the Vienna International Centre. The year 2016 was declared the International Year of Pulses by the 68th UN General Assembly to help raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits and the role of pulses in sustainable food production. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture organized this event to highlight the role of pulses in enhancing the sustainability of agricultural cropping systems. Read More / Watch Video »

Plant mutation breeding enhance crop productivity and food security in drought-prone environments in Namibia. Agriculture is a major contributor to the Namibian economy and is highly correlated to growth and development. The country has semi-arid and arid climatic condition regions and is one of the driest countries of sub-Saharan Africa, consequently crop yields are severely limited by drought. The IAEA, in partnership with FAO, has supported the country’s national crop improvement programme helping to apply plant mutation breeding techniques to develop new mutant lines with high yield potential and enhanced tolerance to drought conditions for drought affected farms. Read More »

Climate Change Adaptation: Boosting Quinoa Production Using Nuclear Techniques. In the battle to help developing countries overcome threats from declining food production caused by climate change, one species of edible grain-like crop has caught international attention because of its unique nutritional value. New and improved varieties of quinoa, historically grown in the highlands of South America, will be made available to farmers in mutations adapted to challenging environments in Bolivia and Peru. Read More »

Plant Mutation Breeding Helps Bangladesh to Feed Its Growing Population. Villages in the northern region of Bangladesh used to struggle with poverty and hunger during the long months of the ‘monga’ periods, but they are now bustling as farmers and workers harvest new crop varieties developed using nuclear techniques. “‘Monga’ is a Bengali word meaning ‘starvation,’” explained Mirza Mofazzal Islam, Principal Scientific Officer and Head of the Biotechnology Division at the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA). It is used to describe the time between mid-September and mid-November and from March to April, when “there is no work for the farm workers. They suffer; they are foodless,” said Mofazzal Islam. Read More »

Can Gamma Rays Help Save the World’s Favourite Fruit?. ... A new research project, supported by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will focus on the development of technology to speed up the breeding of disease-resistant banana and coffee plant varieties. Read More »

Sorghum Mutation Breeding for Improving Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses brought about by Climate Change. Mutation breeding has been successful in the Indonesian sorghum improvement program. It increases the added value of sorghum as food, feed, fiber and fuel source. The released sorghum mutant varieties have a big potential to increase marginal land productivity, improve soil fertility, stimulate sustainable agriculture development, promote economic growth, and ensure future food and energy security. Last but not least, sorghum is probably the most suitable crop for mitigating climate change. Read More »

World Wide Success in Mutation Breeding for Food Security. This year, the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. On the occasion of this milestone of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, Achievement and Outstanding Achievement Awards were initiated to honor and appreciate the successes of Member States in plant mutation breeding ... Read More »

Induction, rapid fixation and retention of mutations in vegetatively propagated banana. A team of the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory at the IAEA Laboratories Seibersdorf has investigated the nature and inheritance of mutations that have been induced in shoot apical meristems of banana. They found out that genotypically heterogeneous stem cells resulting from mutagenic treatment are rapidly sorted to fix a single genotype in the meristem. The results among others will be useful to speed up the process of mutation breeding in vegetatively propagated crops. The story has been published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal and also was chosen for the journal cover. Read More »

Responding to the Transboundary Threat of Wheat Black Stem Rust (Ug99). Mutation activities target rust diseases with emphasis on Ug99 to contribute to an eventually broadened gene base for rust resistance. Mutant lines that have resistance to Ug99, once selected, will effectively counter the threat to global wheat and barley production, the menace of Ug99. Read More »

Improved barley varieties - Feeding people from the equator to the arctic. The weather conditions in the high Peruvian Andes, with their propensity for severe storms that bring with them high winds and hail, are not exactly hospitable for growing grains. But thanks to the work done by the Peru’s national agricultural research system together with the FAO/IAEA’s Plant Breeding and Genetics subprogram, barley varieties now exist that can be planted 3 000–5 000 metres up those mountains. These hearty grain improved varieties have become a lifeline for people who live at those altitudes, providing dependable as well as nutritious yields and now accounting for 90 per cent of the barley produced in Peru. Read More »

Successful Mutation Breeding Programmes in Vietnam. From the lab to the farmerVietnam is a developing agricultural country having 73.5% of its population living in the rural area. Crop production plays an important role in national food security and the rural development of Vietnam. Nuclear techniques have been applied in food and agriculture for improving national food security since the 1970’s. With continuous assistance in technology adaptation and transfer and capacity building from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme (NAFA/AGE) through Agency’s CRPs and national and regional TCPs, great achievements have been made in mutation breeding for crop improvement by the use of nuclear techniques and related biotechniques. Read More »

Rice Mutation Breeding in China. Recent studies on Asian wild rice and land races of cultivars indicate that South Asia is most likely the main centre of origin of cultivated rice. Differentiation of the indica (hsien) rice would have occurred in South Asia, and that of the japonica (keng) rice in South-eastern and Eastern Asia. Full Story »

Transforming the Crop Production Landscape in Bangladesh: A High Yielding, Early Maturing Rice Mutant Variety is beating the Monga Food Insecurity Phenomenon. As in most tropical and sub-tropical regions, in Bangladesh, there is a season called Monga (October and early November) during which crops are still maturing in the field but grain stock is dangerously limited in the monsoon season. Full Story »

From the Lab to the Farm. Rice mutation breeding has never been so rewarding in Viet Nam. Farmers from the Mekong Delta to the highlands have been benefiting from higher yields and better market prices thanks to the high quality of the mutant varieties. In highland areas, farmers began stopping deforestation since they can now produce enough food on their land. Full Story »

Protecting Wheat Harvests from Destruction. Scientists are accelerating research into new varieties of wheat to identify those resistant to an aggressive fungus that is destroying harvests in African and Middle Eastern countries. An FAO/IAEA technical meeting brought together experts from 26 countries on a global plan against the disease, known as "stem rust", or Ug99. Full Story »

Flowers Blooming - A follow-up of a previous TCP in Thailand, THA/5/045. The IAEA had been working with Kasetsart University in Thailand on building capacities for plant mutation breeding through several TCPs. The most recent one, Radiation induced mutation for bean and chrysanthemum (THA/5/045), was completed in 2001. With the capacities built on these projects, the Gamma Irradiation Service and Nuclear Technology Research Center was established and is now providing services for scientists in Thailand. Full Story »

Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Chickpea through Induced Mutations. Under the umbrella of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), with the support of Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs) and research networks (Coordinated Research Projects, CRPs) and hosted by the Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Peshawar (NWFP and FATA Provinces), excellent work is being accomplished in terms of crop breeding, particularly in mutation breeding for sustainable increase in food security. Full Story »

Tanzania: Enhancing Crop Productivity through Radiation Technology. Two mutant rice varieties, resistant to the rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) were successfully released for cultivation in the inland of Tanzania and in the island of Zanzibar. They quickly gained farmer acceptance due to their high yield and quality characters. Full Story »

Juicy Tomatoes from Dry Cuban Soil. Having in mind the need to grow tomatoes under low water input conditions, not only to save this valuable liquid, but also to diversify production in drought-affected areas, a Cuban tomato breeding programme using nuclear techniques has produced varieties that are being adopted by the farmers and have made possible the increase of tomato production in several areas of Cuba with low input of water and fertilizers. Full Story »

Blossoming Ideas Creating Stronger Economies
In Thailand, a flower is more than an ornament; it is the country's symbol and the main source of income for thousands of families. With the help of nuclear technology to bring new colours and shapes to ornamental flowers, Prof. Siranut Lamseejan, at the Kasetsart University, Bangkok, has made a dream come true. Full Story »

High Quality Mutant Rice Varieties Widely Grown in Viet Nam
Mutant rice variety VND95-20 with high quality and tolerance to salinity became the key rice variety for export in 2005 ( 28% of the one million ha export rice area in the Mekong Delta). Full Story »

Indian Groundnut
Under IAEA/RCA Project RAS/5/40, in India, the total mutant series of TAG groundnut varieties (in the last 10 years, 10 varieties) has increasing success. TAG24 is the most popular, TAG38 the most recent mutant groundnut variety (2006). 45% of breeders' seeds are TAG varieties, mostly TAG24. Full Story »

Hardy Crops in Harsh Environments
One of the success stories in the use of induced mutations by a national agricultural research system in collaboration with the Agency's Plant Breeding and Genetics programme: Peru. Full Story »

Saving the Source of Chocolate: Ghana Targets Killer Virus
[...] This growing season (in late 2005) has gone well, with healthy harvests and no signs of the "swollen shoot" disease that has wreaked havoc on Ghana´s cocoa farmers for decades. Full Story »

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Livestock

IAEA and WHO-WPRO Webinar Series number 2: Support to Member States on the Use of RT-PCR for COVID-19. View »

IAEA and WHO-WPRO Webinar Series number 1: Support to Member States on the Use of RT-PCR for COVID-19. View »

COVID-19 Webinar on RT-PCR; from understanding the zoonotic origin of the virus, to transmission and diagnosis in humans. View »

Africa's Increased Capacity to Diagnose and Contain Ebola and other Zoonotic Diseases with Nuclear-Derived Techniques. Nuclear-derived techniques have been well established as an important diagnostic tool to rapidly and reliably identify many diseases spreading from animals to humans, such as Ebola Virus Disease, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and others. Read More »

IAEA to Ship Vital Testing Equipment to Countries in the Fight against COVID-19. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is dispatching a first batch of equipment to more than 40 countries to enable them to use a nuclear-derived technique to rapidly detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Read More »

How is the COVID-19 Virus Detected using Real Time RT-PCR? As the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease spreads across the world, the IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is offering its support and expertise to help countries use real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR), one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking, and studying the coronavirus. Read More »

World Wildlife Day 2020: Decoding the Secrets of Animal Migration with Isotopes and IAEA Data. Migratory animals, their large distance movements and life cycles have eluded scientists for centuries, particularly for hard-to-track and tiny species like the iconic monarch butterfly. Read More »

Nuclear Technologies Keep Morocco Free of Foot and Mouth Disease. A year ago, Moroccan veterinary authorities identified a new strain of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus, a highly contagious animal disease, by using nuclear derived technologies. Read More »

Use of Stable Isotopes to Trace Bird Migrations and Molecular Nuclear Techniques to Investigate the Epidemiology and Ecology of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (D32030). Influenza is one of the most common infectious diseases in animals and humans and is divided into three genera. Read More »

Bosnia and Herzegovina Veterinary Labs Equipped to Diagnose Animal Diseases Using Nuclear-Derived Techniques. Bosnia and Herzegovina veterinary authorities are better equipped to protect livestock from several animal diseases spreading in Southeastern Europe, thanks to the support of the IAEA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Irradiated Animal Vaccines Keep Ethiopia's Animals Healthy, Helping Exports and Food Security. Bishoftu, Ethiopia – Ethiopia exports over a million cattle per year, and none of this would be possible without nuclear techniques. Read More »

From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »

To Fight Fatal Animal Disease, Vets in Asia Turn to Nuclear Technology. Veterinarians are joining forces in the fight against the African Swine Fever, or ASF, an animal disease that has recently hit seven countries in Asia with devastating effects on the pig market in a region where pork is a major source of food. Read More »

IAEA Helps Mozambique Tackle Animal Diseases After Floods. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has delivered emergency supplies to help Mozambique fight outbreaks of animal diseases such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease or Rift Valley fever that could threaten people and livestock in the aftermath of floods caused by recent cyclones. Read More »

IAEA and Cuba Reaffirm Commitment to Strengthened Technical Cooperation. Positive results achieved in IAEA technical cooperation projects and Cuba’s commitment to cooperation with other countries in the region in the peaceful use of nuclear technologies were the main topics discussed during IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s visit to Cuba on Friday. Read More »

How Nuclear Techniques Help Feed China. Beijing, China – With 19% of the world’s population but only 7% of its arable land, China is in a bind: how to feed its growing and increasingly affluent population while protecting its natural resources. Read More »

Laboratory in Ghana Ready to Handle Diagnosis of Major Animal Disease Outbreaks in West Africa. Hundreds of animal diseases can now be rapidly and accurately diagnosed by specialists at the Accra Veterinary Laboratory (AVL) in Ghana, helping to better protect farmers’ livestock and food security. Read More »

IAEA Helps Small-holder Farmers to Improve Twin Births and Mutton Production in Local Sheep Flocks of South India. There are over 65 million sheep in India. These are important animals for the livelihoods of many marginal and landless farmers. Read More »

Vietnamese Authorities Control Spread of African Swine Fever with the Use of Nuclear-derived Techniques. The pork industry in Viet Nam has escaped the recent wave of African Swine Fever (ASF) and other animal diseases hitting Southeast Asia thanks to quick action by researchers at the National Centre for Veterinary Diagnosis (NCVD).   Read More »

Bulgaria Stops Spread of Animal Disease with Help of IAEA and FAO. Bulgaria has halted the spread of the Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) — a virus disease that can devastate livestock — thanks, in part, to the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Video - Hunting for Viruses in Sierra Leone with the Help of Nuclear Technology. After suffering from a devastating Ebola outbreak in 2014, veterinary scientists in Sierra Leone are training their peers from around Africa to catch, sample and diagnose — using nuclear-derived techniques — potentially virus-transmitting bats.   Read More »

Establishing genetic characterization and breeding capability for livestock in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is a West African country with 17.3 million people, where the majority of people live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, mainly livestock rearing. Read More »

Hunting for Viruses in Sierra Leone with the Help of Nuclear Technology. After suffering from a devastating Ebola outbreak in 2014, veterinary scientists in Sierra Leone are training their peers from around Africa to catch, sample and diagnose — using nuclear-derived techniques — potentially virus-transmitting bats.  Read More »

Video: Using Nuclear Science to Control Animal Diseases. Sick animals can threaten the health of people. Diseases such as avian influenza, Ebola and rabies are becoming more frequent. But nuclear-derived techniques can detect the virus in 24 hours allowing farmers to isolate and treat infected animals quickly.   Read More »

Strengthening laboratory network for early and rapid diagnosis of transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases in Botswana. An IAEA technical cooperation project has helped to transform BNVL from a national veterinary laboratory requiring the support of international reference laboratories to a laboratory self-sufficient in first line diagnoses and diagnostic confirmations.   Read More »

Fast Response to HPAI Outbreak Avoids Economic Losses in the Congo. At the end of May 2017, the Congo (DRC) was faced with what appeared to be its first-ever outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Rapid confirmation was critical. Animal and public health officials needed to know if it really was the avian influenza virus, and, if so, which strain of the virus was present. Read More »

Detecting Vector Borne Disease: IAEA and FAO Help Enhance Capacity in Europe. Mosquitoes, ticks, flies, lice, aquatic snails have a particular feature in common ­ they can transmit disease to animals and humans. These diseases are called ‘vector-borne’ as their transmission occurs via a vector (a mosquito, tick, etc.) that carries and transmits the infectious pathogen into another living organism. Read More »

NEW FAO/IAEA CRP: Stable Isotopes Help Trace Bird Migrations to Investigate the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (D32034). When outbreaks of disease happen, locating the origin and pattern and its transmission are of critical importance — and isotope techniques can help. Read More »

Benin Introduces Artificial Insemination in Cattle, Improving Animal Breeding and Nutrition. For the first time, the government of Benin is introducing artificial insemination in cattle. Read More »

Genetic Analysis in Burkina Faso Guides Farmers in Improving Sheep and Goat Productivity. Burkina Faso uses genetic characterisation data for breeding sheep and goats for enhancing productivity while increasing their resistance to parasite infections. An improved feeding practice supports further increase in the productivity of the animals. Read More »

Integrated Farming Finds Success in India with Help of Nuclear Science. Farmers have teamed up with scientists to find new ways to produce more food, improve the quality of their farmland and earn more money. With the help of nuclear techniques, they now have a method for producing high quality livestock and more crops while protecting the health of their soil for a future of more fertile farming. Read More »

Laboratory Network that Helped Win Rinderpest Battle Expands Efforts to Control other Animal Diseases. In May this year the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was for the first time ever reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite the fact that the disease was considered exotic and had never before been experienced in this country, the national veterinary laboratory in Kinshasa, a partner in the VETLAB Network, was well prepared. Once confirmed, it immediately notified the World Organization for Animal Health and started the implementation of control measures. Read More »

Lesotho, Better Prepared to Fight Animal Diseases. Diagnosing animal diseases early and rapidly is now possible in Lesotho, a country of two million in southern Africa that up until recently relied on foreign laboratories for analysis. Thanks to the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), veterinary scientists in the capital Maseru are since June using nuclear and nuclear derived technologies to identify and characterize viruses that affect livestock and humans. Read More »

IAEA brings together experts from Africa to increase preparedness for Ebola and other zoonotic diseases. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is bringing together African human health, veterinary and wildlife experts this week to strengthen early warning systems for managing animal-to-human, or zoonotic, disease outbreaks. Read More »

Laboratory Network that Helped Win Rinderpest Battle Expands Efforts to Control other Animal Diseases. When the avian influenza virus was spreading across Asia into Africa in the early 2000s, veterinary extension services gathered virus samples from the field, but often had to send them abroad for diagnosis because their national labs were not prepared to conduct the specific tests needed. VETLAB, a Joint FAO/IAEA Centre network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories, is today helping countries in Africa and Asia achieve rapid and reliable diagnosis. Read More »

DR Congo Scientists Control Avian Influenza Outbreak Using Nuclear Techniques. Scientists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have identified a new outbreak of avian influenza using highly specific and sensitive nuclear-derived techniques. Thanks to a quick detection and characterization of the virus and subsequent local response, the outbreak is currently under control and limited to the Lake Albert region, near the border with Uganda, scientists have said. Read More »

Veterinary Labs Receive Emergency Toolkits for Handling Disease Outbreaks. An emergency toolkit, containing laboratory testing materials critical in the rapid detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, has been assembled by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre and is now available to African veterinary laboratories on request. Companion biosecurity cases, containing personal protective equipment, sampling materials and disinfectants needed for field samples collection and secure shipment of samples for testing in veterinary laboratories, have also been made available. Read More »

Using Nuclear Science to expand the Vaccines Portfolio. The discovery and production of vaccines was a major breakthrough in efforts to protect people and animals from infectious diseases. Through vaccination, smallpox in humans and rinderpest in animals, have both been eradicated from the planet. However, the portfolio of preventable diseases must expand. A number of innovative vaccines are now in development, using an approach that calls for irradiating the pathogens. See Video »

IAEA Director General Highlights IAEA Support for Development During Myanmar Visit. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano highlighted the important role of nuclear science and technology in supporting sustainable development in his discussions with State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, during his visit to Myanmar last week. Read More »

IAEA Helps Bulgaria Tackle Cattle Disease with Nuclear-Derived Technique. Traditionally common to Africa and Asia, lumpy skin disease emerged in Turkey in 2013 and has since spread rapidly through south-eastern Europe. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Commission, is providing laboratory support and expertise to help countries battle this cattle disease, which can cause significant economic losses to farmers. See Video »

Artificial Insemination Doubles Value of Cambodian Cows, Increasing Farmers' Income. Rolling out the artificial insemination programme for cattle in Cambodia would open up market opportunities and increase farmers’ income, according to researchers and veterinary officials in the province where a pilot programme is under way with support from the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Nuclear Techniques Help Diagnose Camel Disease in the Middle East. An emerging disease affecting camels and people is threatening the Middle East and its neighbours. Last month, the IAEA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) trained veterinary laboratory staff from this region on how to detect and diagnose the disease using nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques. Read More »

Vets in Africa Help Prevent Spread of Ebola and Other Zoonotic Diseases. During the Ebola epidemic of 2014, the IAEA reacted quickly to provide specialized diagnostic equipment to help combat the Ebola virus. With the immediate crisis over, the focus is now on longer term prevention. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is providing expertise and equipment to help countries use nuclear-derived techniques to detect zoonotic diseases and respond to them. Read More »

Strengthening Africa’s Regional Capacity for Diagnosis of Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonotic Diseases. A key issue in dealing with highly contagious infectious zoonotic diseases is the personal safety of medical and veterinary staff during processes where they may be exposed to dangerous pathogens. To facilitate dissemination of safety knowledge in this area, the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has generated two videos: the first is a general introduction to the topic itself; the second a step-by-step instruction guide to the correct use of personal protective equipment during field sampling. Read More & Watch Videos »

Lesotho, Better Prepared to Fight Animal Diseases. Diagnosing animal diseases early and rapidly is now possible in Lesotho, a country of two million in southern Africa that up until recently relied on foreign laboratories for analysis. Thanks to the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), veterinary scientists in the capital Maseru are since June using nuclear and nuclear derived technologies to identify and characterize viruses that affect livestock and humans. Read More »

Laboratory Network that Helped Win Rinderpest Battle Expands Efforts to Control other Animal Diseases. In May this year the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was for the first time ever reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite the fact that the disease was considered exotic and had never before been experienced in this country, the national veterinary laboratory in Kinshasa, a partner in the VETLAB Network, was well prepared. Once confirmed, it immediately notified the World Organization for Animal Health and started the implementation of control measures. Read More »

Differentiating Transboundary Animal Diseases in a Single Test. The IAEA, in partnership with the FAO through the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, has developed a multi-pathogen assay at its Animal Production and Health Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, that was validated in collaboration with veterinary laboratories from the VETLAB Network. The assay simultaneously detects the PPR virus and other pathogens causing similar signs of disease. Thanks to this innovative method, Member State scientists are now able to diagnose diseases more efficiently, both in terms of time and costs. Read More »

Scientific methods test farmers’ indigenous knowledge to identify sheep and goat breeds resistant to parasites. In a scientific study, farmers in ten developing countries were asked to identify one sheep or goat breed that they considered to be naturally resistant and one naturally susceptible to parasitic infection. Subsequent scientific exploration included everything from examining eyes for anaemia to checking the 60 000 DNA markers of their genomes for variations that indicated resistance. Interestingly, the indigenous knowledge as to animal susceptibility and resistance was largely correct and is now being used to breed parasite-resistant sheep and goats. Read More »

FAO-AG Confers an Outstanding Teamwork Award to the Animal Genetic Resources Team. The Animal Genetic Resources Team receives Outstanding Teamwork Achievement Award from FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department for its superior accomplishments in supporting the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and enhancing Member State capacities on characterization, conservation and sustainable improvement of locally-adapted livestock. The team is comprised of staff from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre’s Animal Production and Health Section and FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division. Read More »

Myanmar's Dairy Farmers Benefit from Cattle Breeding Programme Using Nuclear-based Techniques. Genetic improvement of native cattle breeds through radio-immune assay and artificial insemination applications to increase milk production while retaining their adaptability to the local environment and tolerance to diseases, resulting in sustainable improvement of farmers livelihood in Myanmar. The IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have jointly supported Myanmar’s Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department in perfecting and rolling out appropriate technologies across the country.
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Genetic Analysis in Burkina Faso Guides Farmers in Improving Sheep and Goat Productivity. Burkina Faso uses genetic characterisation data for breeding sheep and goats for enhancing productivity while increasing their resistance to parasite infections. An improved feeding practice further increases the productivity of the animals. Read More »

Mongolia Keeps Animal Diseases at Bay with the Help of Nuclear Technologies. A portrait of life in Mongolia is not complete without livestock. For city dwellers and nomads alike, more than 70 million animals are an essential source of food, income and cultural symbols for this country of barely three million inhabitants. Yet livestock owners like Batbaatar Chuluun are calm about highly contagious animal diseases. That’s thanks to Mongolia’s comprehensive animal disease control system built in part with support from the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Laboratory network that helped win rinderpest battle expands efforts to control other animal diseases. When avian influenza spread across Asia into Africa in the early 2000s, veterinary extension services were largely unprepared and unable to conduct the specific tests needed - a network to collaborate and share technical expertise was urgently needed. Several years later, compare that to the situation when an avian flu outbreak was suspected in Togo in 2015. Togo sent its suspicious samples to a dedicated laboratory in neighbouring Ghana and received the results without delay. This advance is the result of VETLAB, a network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories now established and functioning in both Africa and Asia. Read More »

How Nuclear Science Helps Botswana Control Animal Diseases, Ensure Food Safety and Maintain its Beef Exports. In Botswana, cattle is a way of life. Owning cattle and selling animals when money is tight provide the livelihood for much of the rural population and represent an important supplementary income for city dwellers. When in 2008 the European Union (EU) tightened sanitary requirements on beef imports, Botswana’s second largest export industry came to the verge of losing its most important and lucrative market. Since then, the use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques, introduced with support from the IAEA in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has enabled the country to put in place veterinary and food safety surveillance systems that meet EU requirements. Read More »

Lab to Help Diagnosis of Animal Diseases Using Nuclear-Derived Techniques Opens in Botswana. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has supported the country’s national veterinary laboratory since 2009, helping compliance with European Union testing and surveillance requirements. The IAEA, through several technical cooperation projects, has provided equipment, reagents, expert advice and training for laboratory staff. Read More »

IAEA assists Sudan in the control of animal diseases through the development of vaccines. Control and eradication of animal diseases are crucial for food security and improving the livelihoods of farmers. With support from the Animal Production and Health Subprogramme of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, the IAEA, in partnership with FAO, is assisting Sudan in developing an irradiated vaccine to protect livestock against one such zoonotic disease, Brucellosis. Read More »

Joint FAO-IAEA research looks for a stable-isotope based method to quantify feed intake. Joint FAO/IAEA Centre developed a research project on isotope based techniques for estimation of feed intake in grazing cattle through expert consultations. The project is expected to start in 2016. Read More »

Asian and African Scientists Learn How to Detect Animal Diseases Threatening Livestock. Animal diseases cause great damage in countries, especially where the majority of people depend on agriculture and livestock to live. After attending a two-week course organized this month by the IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), several scientists from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are now in the position to diagnose such diseases. Read More »

From Lab Coats to Hazmat Suits: IAEA Trains Scientists to Work Safely With Ebola. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), is providing assistance to African Member States on the use of nuclear-derived techniques in identifying and characterizing quickly and effectively zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever quickly and effectively. Read More »

Nuclear-Derived Techniques Improve Cattle Productivity and Milk Quality in Cameroon. In collaboration with the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), LAVANET and the country’s Institute of Agricultural Research for Development are engaged in training technicians on disease control and artificial insemination to improve cattle productivity and breeding management. Read More »

Improving vaccine efficiency to fight livestock diseases with new Flow-cytometer. Vaccines protect livestock against animal diseases and are crucial in disease control programs. Before novel vaccines are released to the market, they undergo a long and complex development, testing and approval process. A new state-of-the-art piece of equipment, a flow-cytometer, has been provided by the Government of Germany to the Animal Production and Health Laboratory in Seibersdorf. Read More »

IAEA training course helps tackle the H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in West Africa. .... the IAEA in cooperation with FAO, recently held a training course for those Member States experiencing or considered at risk of bird flu outbreaks. “The key to control zoonotic diseases is to be proactive rather than reactive,” said Gerrit Viljoen, Head of IAEA’s Animal Production and Health Section. Read More »

IAEA supports Belize to strengthen their animal health diagnoses and control capacities. Agriculture in Belize plays a significant role in the country’s economic stability and growth in terms of foreign exchange earnings, income generation, employment, nutrition, and food security. The Agricultural sector represented 13% of Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, a 2.0% increase over the previous year. Aquaculture has been prioritized by the Government of Belize as a tool to evaluate alternative sources of protein, and ultimately provide a cheaper protein source option for Belizeans. In light of this, the IAEA has been assisting Belize in developing nuclear and molecular diagnostic and control techniques and strengthening capacities in animal health management through several initiatives, including the development of the Animal Health Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory. Read More »

Controlling Avian Flu in West Africa: Nuclear-Derived Techniques Enable Early Detection of Outbreaks. Following the recent outbreak of avian flu in Cote d’Ivoire, the IAEA – through its partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – is helping West African countries in the early and accurate detection of the virus using nuclear-derived techniques. Read More »

Controlling Avian Flu in West Africa: Nuclear-Derived Techniques Enable Early Detection of Outbreaks. Following the recent outbreak of avian flu in Cote d’Ivoire, the IAEA – through its partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – is helping West African countries in the early and accurate detection of the virus using nuclear-derived techniques. Read More »

Global Strategy to Fight Global Ruminant Pest Uses Nuclear Techniques. Under the Global Strategy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the IAEA and their partners will work together to eliminate PPR, improving the livelihoods of people and economies in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that rely on sheep and goats, boosting food security in the process. Read More »

Building veterinary laboratory capacity in Africa: THE VETLAB NETWORK. Transboundary animal diseases and those that affect human health have a strong impact on community livelihoods, trade and public health. They also pose a major challenge to the value chain of food of animal origin, causing serious production losses and food safety concerns. Early and rapid diagnosis and control of these diseases require concerted interdisciplinary actions at national and international levels. The sub-Saharan African branch of the VETLAB NETWORK, composed of 32 African countries, aims at remedying this situation, with four leading institutes providing regional support. Read More [pdf] »

A tribute to the work of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre for the Control and Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR). At the International Conference for the Control and Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in April, Dr Adama Diallo, a staff member of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, was elevated to the grade of Officer of the National Order of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. This award recognises his particular role in creating the PPR vaccine and, in a broader perspective, all the work that the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has undertaken in this area over many years. Read More »

Ethiopia awards IAEA for continuous support in veterinary disease diagnostics. Since 2011, the IAEA, through the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, has increased its support to a network of veterinary laboratories (“VETLAB Network”) in sub-Saharan Africa through a project entitled “Strengthening Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories in Africa for Rapid and Specific Diagnosis of Transboundary Animal Diseases”. Read More »

The Joint FAO-IAEA Division is supporting Member States to combat H7N9 avian influenza - a new avian influenza virus concern for Humans. Avian Influenza, also known as “Avian Flu” or “Bird Flu” is caused by a virus that has a reservoir in wild birds. Usually, wild birds are resistant to the disease but do carry and secrete the virus, transmitting it to domesticated birds (chicken, duck, and turkey) that are susceptible and can become sick and die. Read More »

Botswana: Veterinary Laboratory. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre assisted the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) building capacities on modern molecular techniques for the rapid diagnosis and establishment of methods for early warning, prevention and control of TADs and other infectious diseases. This enabled BNVL to implement a quality management system according to ISO standard 17025, which led to accreditation of 22 tests. Read More »

Mauritius: Local Feed Production. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has been assisting Mauritius in increasing its research and extension capacities to render its dairy and meat industries competitive through producing feed locally, utilising by-products and residues of the sugar industry and also using land that has become available due to the decline in sugar cane production. Read More »

Mongolia: Animal Health Laboratories and Nutrition Research. Supports from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre have enabled Mongolian laboratories to improve animal nutrition and timely response to disease outbreaks. The Joint Centre also assisted the sector in developing and implementing short, medium and long term strategies for controlling foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which enabled the Veterinary Service of Mongolia to successfully contain FMD outbreaks in 2010-2011 and 2013-2014. In 2013, 24.8 million animals were vaccinated again. Read More »

Myanmar: Livestock Breeding. Assistances from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre has supported Myanmar in developing laboratories with molecular and nuclear techniques for genetic characterisation of domestic animals, for delivering services to farmers that support animal breeding and for diagnosis and control of trans-boundary animal diseases. A new capacity to incorporate marker-assisted selection into an effective cattle breeding programme will also enable sustainable growth in the sector. Read More »

The Animal Production and Health Laboratory: 30 years of committed support to IAEA and FAO Member States. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is 50 years old this year. The Animal Production and Health Section, which was established in 1964 at the inception of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, was further enhanced in 1984 with the creation of an associated Animal Production and Health Laboratory. A summary of the work of the Animal Production and Health Laboratory is briefly described. Read More »

The Joint FAO-IAEA Division is supporting Member States to combat H7N9 avian influenza - a new avian influenza virus concern for Humans. Avian Influenza, also known as “Avian Flu” or “Bird Flu” is caused by a virus that has a reservoir in wild birds. Usually, wild birds are resistant to the disease but do carry and secrete the virus, transmitting it to domesticated birds (chicken, duck, and turkey) that are susceptible and can become sick and die. Read More »

GLOBAL RINDERPEST ERADICATION: The IAEA contribution. Countries suffering from the ravages of rinderpest, a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, buffalo, yak and several wildlife species, were officially recognised as disease free by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2011 and FAO in June 2011 when they declared that rinderpest was eradicated world-wide. Read More »

Rinderpest Freedom Celebration. Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague, is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, buffalo, yak and several wildlife species, and has caused immense livestock losses throughout history. IAEA in collaboration with FAO, OIE and other partners supported its Member States for more than 25 years to control and eradicate the disease. Read More »

On the trail of avian influenza: using nuclear technology to support early warning and surveillance. Following the first occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) in the human population in 1997, the migratory pathways of wild birds have become a topic of growing interest. Using nuclear technology – specifically, stable isotopes analyses – it is possible to trace the origin of individual birds and to identify their migration patterns during a specific period. Read More »

Development of feeding strategies for improved meat and milk production on smallholder dairy farms in Zambia. Livestock rearing is one of the leading farming activities practiced by rural communities in Zambia. The animals kept include cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and various species of poultry of which chickens are the most common. Read More »

The Joint FAO-IAEA Division is supporting Member States to combat H7N9 avian influenza - a new avian influenza virus concern for Humans. Avian Influenza, also known as “Avian Flu” or “Bird Flu” is caused by a virus that has a reservoir in wild birds. Usually, wild birds are resistant to the disease but do carry and secrete the virus, transmitting it to domesticated birds (chicken, duck, and turkey) that are susceptible and can become sick and die. Read More »

On the trail of avian influenza: using nuclear technology to support early warning and surveillance. Following the first occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) in the human population in 1997, the migratory pathways of wild birds have become a topic of growing interest. Using nuclear technology - specifically, stable isotopes analyses - it is possible to trace the origin of individual birds and to identify their migration patterns during a specific period. Full Story »

Development of feeding strategies for improved meat and milk production on smallholder dairy farms in Zambia. Livestock rearing is one of the leading farming activities practiced by rural communities in Zambia. The animals kept include cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and various species of poultry of which chickens are the most common. Full Story »

Genetic characterization of indigenous cattle breeds in Zambia - which way forward?. Zambia is endowed with a variety of indigenous livestock species that not only provide meat, milk and eggs to meet household protein needs, but are also used for a wide range of economic activities. In recent years, however, the country has been losing many of these indigenous livestock breeds as a result of farmers' preference for exotic breeds that are perceived to be more productive. Full Story »

IAEA scientists develop molecular tools for better understanding of the epidemiology of Capripoxviruses. Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) represent the most important threats to livestock production worldwide. The efficient control of these diseases currently relies primarily on enabling strategies to limit their spread. Full Story ».

Highlights of 2010. The application of early, rapid and sensitive nuclear and nuclear related diagnostic tests to assist in the control transboundary animal diseases (TADs) has been a long-standing component of the Subprogramme's activities to reduce the impact such diseases have on livestock productivity in Member States (MS). Full Story ».

Construction of a goat (Capra hircus) whole-genome radiation hybrid panel. The goat (Caprine hircus) is an important agricultural species worldwide with centuries of phenotypic observations, trait selection, and breed differentiation. However, the understanding of the goat at the genomic level lags behind other livestock species, such as cattle, pig, chicken, and sheep. Full Story ».

The Artificial Insemination Centre in Cameroon - A success story. One of the main constraints for AI in some African countries such as Cameroon is the availability and cost of liquid nitrogen for transporting semen, especially in rural areas, a key element to preserve semen for prolonged periods. The Bambui Cattle Centre overcame this by developing a chilled semen processing methodology using egg-yolk and coconut water in which sperm can survive for up to seven days. Full Story ».

Genetic characterization of indigenous chicken breeds in search for unique properties of immune-related genes. At first sight the diversity within domestic chicken is extensive, which should provide an excellent base for breeding animals that are well adapted to a variety of local environmental conditions. However, the industrialization and globalization of chicken production in the 20th century adversely affected the distribution of chicken genetic resources worldwide, practically limiting the breed composition to commercial stocks of broilers and egg-type, laying hens. Full Story »

IAEA helps to improve the productivity of cattle, camels and yaks in Mongolia through better nutrition and reproductive management. The livestock sector is the main pillar of the economy in Mongolia which, in addition to providing export products, provides food, clothing and shelter. The livestock sector employs 30 percent of Mongolians and is a core survival strategy for nomadic families that rely entirely on pastureland livestock herding. Full Story »

The Agency supports portable diagnostic devices to enhance "at-source" control of transboundary animal diseases. Molecular genetic testing plays a vital role in safeguarding public health - from diagnosing disease to monitoring for pathogens with pandemic potential; from detecting potential bioterrorism threats to safeguarding the food supply via crop and farm animal surveillance. Full Story »

Sheep HapMap. A HapMap project in small ruminants (sheep and goats) is extremely important for IAEA developing Member States to enhance the ability of scientists to use genomics for improving productivity and other characteristics influenced by genetics, including adaptability and disease resistance. Full Story »

The Agency is assisting Member States to reduce the amount of methane produced by ruminant livestock. Increasing methane concentrations in the atmosphere have been identified as the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. Thus, methane was included in the Kyoto Protocol with 1990 chosen as the base year for future decisions concerning the impact of mitigation strategies. Full Story »

Water Resources and Livestock: An increasing constraint. Water is essential for life. More than half of all potable water is from rivers and lakes and more than one-sixth of the Earth's population rely on glaciers and seasonal snowfall for their water supply. However, the increase in surface temperatures is causing profound alterations in the hydrological cycle, particularly in regions where water supply is currently dominated by melting snow or ice. Full Story »

Climate Change and the Expansion of Animal and Zoonotic Diseases - What is the Agency's Contribution?. Globalization and climate change have had an unprecedented worldwide impact on emerging and re-emerging animal diseases and zoonoses. Climate change is disrupting natural ecosystems by providing more suitable environments for infectious diseases allowing disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi to move into new areas where they may harm wild life and domestic species, as well as humans. Full Story »

With IAEA support, Latin America controls liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) in livestock and humans. Although the countries of Latin America are geographically and culturally diverse, they have a major problem in common, one that affects the health of both its peoples and its animals. From the Patagonian steppe to the tropics of the Caribbean, from the endless flatland of the Pampas to the remote highlands of the Andes, there occurs the ever present common liver fluke: Fasciola hepatica. Full Story »

Deadly cattle plague, once the bane of farmers, on its deathbed. Arguably, rinderpest in the most dreaded cattle disease because of its epidemic history that caused massive depopulations of livestock and wildlife on three continents and because it has been responsible for several famines and the loss of draught animal power in agricultural communities of the last three centuries. The Agency, in collaboration with a global effort, contributed towards the successful eradication campaign. Full Story »

Community-based Dairy Veterinary Services in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has taken advantage of results from previous research conducted through IAEA CRP and TCP to develop a self-sustaining Community-based Dairy Veterinary Service. Full Story »

IAEA's support to animal health services in Yemen (1995 - 2009)
Since Yemen became a Member State of the IAEA in 1995, collaboration between Yemen and the Agency through national and regional TCP in the field of animal health has allowed the national veterinary services to tremendously build capacity and modernize their disease diagnostic facilities, build new level 2 and high security laboratories and to improve quality control, quality assurance and laboratory management practices. Full Story »

A successful history of cooperation between IAEA and Angola
Since its admission as an IAEA Member State of in 1990, the Republic of Angola achieved a definitive peace in 2002, which allowed the establishment of a country programme framework, taking in account the sectors of Education, Health and Agriculture as priority for industry and economic development. Full Story »

The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme
June 2009 | Status report on progress made to date in eradication of rinderpest: highlighting success story and action required till global declaration in 2010. [pdf] Full Story »

Bovine Genome Provides Clues to Evolution, Better Beef and Milk
After 6 years of work by more than 300 researchers from 25 countries and $53 million in funding, the cow genome has arrived. Sequencing of the bovine genome provides new information about mammalian evolution as well as cattle-specific biology and points the way to research that could result in more sustainable food production in a world challenged by global population growth. Full Story »

IAEA's support helps Eritrea to controlling Brucellosis and Tuberculosis in Cattle
The IAEA started to support the veterinary services of Eritrea in the late 1990s when the country requested help with their rinderpest eradication programme. The IAEA provided technical assistance in the setting-up of a diagnostic laboratory and the training of staff ... Full Story »

Avian Influenza, Migratory Birds and Stable Isotopes
Over 100 species of wild migratory birds, particularly ducks, swans, geese and various wading birds, harbour avian influenza (AI) viruses. Infections are transmitted amongst the wild birds by shedding of the virus and contamination of water. Full Story »

Adapting Molecular Diagnostics to Field Conditions
Enhancing food security by providing effective control of infectious diseases in livestock requires major investment in developing diagnostic technologies of sufficient sensitivity and precision to enable veterinary authorities to accurately identify animal carriers of disease and to carry out appropriate measures for containing an outbreak. Full Story »

Irradiated Vaccines and the Control of Animal Diseases
Animals in general possess a basic defence against pathogens known as innate immunity. This comprises two parts, humoral, referring to substances found in the body fluids such as tears, mucus, and blood that can prevent the development of pathogens so that they can be eliminated from the body and the second, cellular, where cells called phagocytes ingest pathogens. Full Story »

The Use of Nuclear Technologies to Fight Problem Diseases - the re-emergence of irradiated vaccines
The concept of vaccination is a sound one for the prevention of animal disease; fundamentally, it is designed to mimic the development of naturally acquired immunity by inoculation of non pathogenic, highly immunogenic organisms. Full Story »

The Tracing of Animal Migration with Stable Isotopes
To understand the ecology of migratory animals it is important to link geographic regions used by individuals including breeding, wintering, and intermediate stopover sites. Previous conventional approaches used to track animal movements have relied on extrinsic markers (eg tags, radio tracking) and typically the subsequent recovery of individuals. Full Story »

Water Efficiency of Animal Protein Production
The livestock sector is the fastest growing agricultural sector and has been predicted to continue growing at these rates for the foreseeable future. Livestock production has been shown to be economically important and is related to increasing incomes in poor rural areas. Full Story »

Belching Ruminants, a minor player in atmospheric methane
Since 1999 atmospheric methane concentrations have leveled off while the world population of ruminants has increased at an accelerated rate. Prior to 1999, world ruminant populations were increasing at the rate of 9.15 million head/year but since 1999 this rate has increased to 16.96 million head/year. Full Story »

The Second Embryo Transfer Goat Kid "Peradeniya Kumari -2" Born in Sri Lanka
The Embryo Biotechnology research team of the University of Peradeniya have produced a second goat kid through Embryo Transfer technology. Research team leader Dr. Basil Alexander said "the initial experiments on embryo production and transfer in Sri Lanka have resulted in great success". Full Story »

IAEA Counterparts Produce a Calf via Embryo Transfer for the first time ever in Sri Lanka
A team of veterinary researchers and IAEA counterparts at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka have successfully produced a calf through embryo transplant technology. This historic event marks the first time in Sri Lanka when such technology has been successfully applied. Full Story »

Neighbours Helping Neighbours: Kenya Hosts Fellow from Tanzania
The IAEA, through TC project URT5025 based at the National Artificial Insemination Cooperation (NAIC) at Usa River Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, granted Ms. Mary A. Shio a two month fellowship in Kenya hosted by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Lanet Research Center. Full Story »

IAEA tackles Bird Flu diagnosis
The First Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) for the Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on "The early and rapid diagnosis of transboundary animal diseases such as avian influenza" was held at the IAEA, Vienna, 19 to 23 March 2007. The RCM was attended by more than 25 participants, as it brought together Research Contract and Agreement holders as well as observers. Full Story » [pdf]

Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe unite to battle CBPP
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) has been a problem in the Kazungula district of Zambia since an outbreak in 1997 and has caused concern in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Full Story »

Goat Genetic Resources in Bangladesh
Goats have been reared in Bangladesh from the time of human settlement in this part of the earth. They stand second in number among the ruminant species. There are approximately 18 million goats at present in the country. Full Story »

Technology Transfer: Use of Urea Molasses Multinutrient Blocks in over 50 Countries
Livestock production in developing countries is largely dependent on fibrous feeds - mainly crop residues and low quality pasture - that are deficient in nitrogen, readily fermentable energy, minerals and vitamins. Full Story »

Holistic Approach gives Farmers better Profit
Shortcomings in animal nutrition, health, and reproduction and breeding have all been identified as constraints to optimal productivity of livestock systems in developing countries. Full Story »

Past and Present Contributions of Joint FAO/IAEA Centre to Eradication of Rinderpest
Rinderpest is an important killer disease of cattle. Since there is a vaccine that gives a life long protection and can be produced easily and cheaply, there is a good chance that the disease can be completely wiped out from the world. In other words - the disease can be eradicated. Full Story »

Newcastle Disease Control in Chicken Improves the Welfare of Rural Households in Africa
An FAO/IAEA funded five year coordinated research project (CRP) was initiated in 1998 to study back yard poultry production in 12 African countries and then to suggest and initiate appropriate intervention strategies that are economically viable. Full Story »

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Soil and Water

New CRP: Developing Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Carbon Sequestration and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (D15020). The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has launched a new five-year (2020-2025) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), titled ‘Developing Climate Smart Agricultural practices for carbon sequestration and mitigation of greenhouse gases’ (D15020). Read More »

Radionuclide Technique Used to Update Serbia's Soil Erosion Map, Identify Conservation Needs. Along the slopes of Radan Mountain in southern Serbia, tourists are attracted to an atypical sight of rock formations. In Djavolja Varos (Devil’s Town), about 200 pillar-shaped rocks dot the landscape. Read More »

Combatting Soil Erosion to Help Achieve Zero Hunger and Clean Water: IAEA Commemorates World Soil Day. Over 45 billion tons of soil are lost to erosion every year. Farmers and agricultural authorities in several countries have succeeded in slowing down erosion with the help of nuclear techniques. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques Help Reveal High Rate of Soil Erosion in Benin. Harmless traces from nuclear testing more than half a century ago are helping researchers assess soil erosion rates. Read More »

From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »

Fighting Air Pollution with a $1 Tool. A simple new device that costs less than US$1 to make could help global efforts to reduce harmful air pollution caused by ammonia emissions, while improving access to food. Read More »

Supporting the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Colombia. Sediments are finely-grained particles, sometimes produced as a by-product of weathering and soil erosion, but often the result of human activities. Read More »

Tripling Cassava Yields with the Help of Nuclear Science: IAEA Commemorates World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Seeing is believing, and when neighbouring farmers visit Theogene Ntakarutimana’s cassava farm in central Burundi, on what is increasingly arid terrain, they are often speechless. Read More »

New IAEA Publication - Use of Laser Carbon Dioxide Carbon Isotope Analysers in Agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture is reorienting agricultural systems to address the intertwined challenges of food security and climate change. Read More »

World Water Day: IAEA Project Strengthens Control of Water Quality in the Zamora River, Ecuador. Southeast Ecuador is home to a constellation of copper and gold mines, which have sustained economic activity in the region for decades. Read More »

World Water Day: IAEA Projects Strengthen Access to Resources, Using Isotope Hydrology. Each year, on 22 March, World Water Day focuses public attention on the value of water and the importance of access. Read More »

Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia. Farmers in Namibia now have new crop varieties of cowpea and sorghum that are more tolerant to drought and pests planted this year, thanks to nuclear technology provided with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Nuclear Technology Helps Develop New Barley Variety in Kuwait. Kuwait—New home-grown barley varieties developed using irradiation with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are in the final stages of development and will be ready to be released to farmers for production in coming years. Read More »

Staying Climate-Smart: Coordination Meeting on Enhancing Crop Nutrition and Soil and Water Management in Africa Held in Vienna. Counterparts and representatives of 16 IAEA African Member States gathered at the Agency’s Vienna headquarters from 8 to 12 October 2018 to discuss the work plan to implement climate-smart agricultural technologies to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change. Read More »

World Soil Day: How Can Nuclear Techniques Be the Solution to Soil Pollution and Increased Productivity? Pollution in soil can be invisible to the naked eye, but it can affect our food and water resources and even the air we breathe. Read More »

Drip Irrigation Saves Water and Improves Crop Yields in Mauritania. Water scarcity, high temperatures and sandy soils have been a problem for farmers, especially women farmers, in Mauritania trying to grow vegetables under harsh conditions to feed their families and sell at local markets. Read More »

Egypt and Senegal Receive Gamma Detectors to Help Combat Soil Erosion. Experts in Egypt and Senegal will be better able to fight soil erosion thanks to two gamma spectroscopy detectors which have just been delivered through the IAEA's technical cooperation programme. Read More »

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture With the Help of Nuclear Techniques. Farmers are increasingly using sustainable agricultural methods to boost productivity while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read More »

Using Nuclear Techniques to Combat Climate Change and Improve Crop Yields Farmers in Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Uruguay are increasing crop yields and enhancing the fertility and quality of the soil in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective way – thanks to the results of an IAEA coordinated research project recently concluded in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Farmers in Brazil Use Legumes to Reduce Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Brazilian farmers are working with nuclear scientists to utilize organic farming techniques to increase their productivity while at the same time reducing their carbon emissions in a project coordinated by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

NEW CRP: Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of Agro-Contaminants (D15018). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is launching a new coordinated research project to help address the global challenge of agricultural contaminants. Read More »

Argentina Applies Nuclear Technology to Water. In Argentina, like in many parts of the world, water is at risk of over-exploitation and contamination. To protect it, scientists are studying its most invisible details with the help of nuclear technology and the support of the IAEA. Read More »

How to Win a Fight Against Soil Erosion: Nuclear Science Helps Farmers in Morocco. Farmer El Haj Abdeslam and his three helpers spent years fighting soil erosion that swept away their crops’ fertile ground, taking their incomes with it. Read More »

$600k OPEC-Fund Grant to Promote Use of Nuclear Techniques for Improved Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture. Improved farming practices, healthier animals and – ultimately – increased food security will be the outcomes of projects supported by a US$ 600 000 grant by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID) under a partnership with the IAEA signed last week. Read More »

Costa Rica Paves the Way for Climate-Smart Agriculture. While the Happy Planet Index ranks Costa Rica first in the world for environmentally-friendly practices, the country is also the world’s number one producer of fertilizer-hungry pineapples. Read More »

World Soil Day: Caring for the Planet Starts from the Ground and Nuclear Techniques can Help. Erosion threatens soil resources worldwide. Nuclear science offers wasy to study and protect this finite, non-renewable resource. Read More »

Area-wide Measurements of Soil Water Improve Management of Scarce Water Resources in Agriculture . Global climate change and population growth are increasing pressure on agricultural systems and water resources. Read More »

Stable Nitrogen Isotopes and Low-Cost Irrigation Technologies Help Scientists Optimize Crop and Water Productivity in Cameroon. Scientists, field and laboratory technicians from Cameroon have been trained to carry out field trials to identify crops with high biological nitrogen fixation, and high nitrogen and water use, during a two-week course in Yaoundé. Read More »

Isotopic Technique Helps Benin Farmers Triple Yields and Improve Livelihoods. Poor soil fertility was a major factor hindering farmers in Benin to produce good crops. Chemical fertilizers are too expensive to afford. The inclusion of legumes such as soybean and groundnuts that helps to capture nitrogen from the air, have helped farmers triple their yields. Read More »

Cambodian Researchers Use Isotopic Technique to Help Farmers Increase Yields and Revenues. Poorer farmers who cannot afford to buy enough fertilizer can achieve high yields by using more manure and compost and planting alternative crops between rice growing seasons, Cambodia’s agricultural researchers have found. Their recommendations are the result of research supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), using nuclear-related techniques to measure fertilizer and water uptake by rice and other crops. Read More »

Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology. After years of insecurity and internal strife, authorities and scientists from the Central African Republic are again turning to nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for development. From increasing soil fertility to developing improved plant varieties and understanding their water resources, they are now picking up speed. Read More »

Benin Farmers Inoculate Their Legumes to Improve Soil Fertility and Yield. The farmers of Benin constantly struggle with poor soil fertility which requires them to use expensive fertilizers in order to have a good crop yield – fertilizers that they often cannot afford. But now, through work supported by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, more than 5 000 farmers have been trained to improve their soil fertility by inoculating their legume crops – inoculating them with a dose of bacteria needed to facilitate the process of nitrogen fixation. Read More »

Stable Nitrogen Isotope Helps Scientists Optimize Water, Fertilizer Use. Experts in a growing number of countries are using a nuclear technique to help farmers increase crop yields, optimize fertilizer use and evaluate varieties of rice, cereals and vegetables for their efficiency in making the best use of fertilizers and adapt agriculture practices to changing climate conditions. Read More »

World Soil Day: Madagascar Combats Soil Erosion with Tradition and Nuclear Science. An age-old agricultural method is helping to combat soil degradation and protect a source of food and income for more than 75% of the population in Madagascar. Using isotopic techniques, scientists working with the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), found that traditional terrace farming can reduce soil erosion and run-off on mountainous land by up to 40%. Read More »

Improving Sudan’s Vegetable Production with Small-scale Irrigation Technologies. Agriculture is the principal source of income and livelihoods for 60 to 80 percent of the population of Sudan, where 90 percent of arable land is rainfed. Climate change and rainfall variability, water scarcity and the inaccessibility of other water sources regularly contribute to crop failures. Women farmers in the Kassala region, the breadbasket of Sudan, are now introducing family-scale drip irrigation systems to overcome water stress and to ensure a more sustainable vegetable production. Read More »

IAEA to Step up Food Safety Work with Equipment Provided by Manufacturer Shimadzu. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to increase its efforts to help countries test for contaminants in food thanks to a donation of sophisticated detection equipment by Japanese manufacturer Shimadzu Corporation. Read More »

Pulses for a Sustainable Future. An event to celebrate the International Year of Pulses (2016) took place this week at the Vienna International Centre. The year 2016 was declared the International Year of Pulses by the 68th UN General Assembly to help raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits and the role of pulses in sustainable food production. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture organized this event to highlight the role of pulses in enhancing the sustainability of agricultural cropping systems. Read More / Watch Video »

How Nuclear Technology Helps Women Farmers in Sudan Move Out of Poverty. Using small scale drip irrigation system and information generated using nuclear techniques on crop water requirement, women farmers in rural Sudan were able to overcome water stress of growing vegetables. Read More »

Scientists Study Atoms in Soil to Find Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Balancing how fertilizer, water and soil are used with agricultural crops has proven useful for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that drive climate change and global warming. But striking an optimal balance requires understanding how these factors are influenced by different soil and environmental conditions as well as farm management practices. To help chart out ways to do that, scientists are using isotopic techniques to develop scientifically-based guidance that helps countries reduce and mitigate GHG emissions. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques: A solution to minimize land degradation and save the soil!. Land degradation is a worldwide threat currently affecting 1.9 billion hectares globally that affects around 65% of the soil resources. Soil erosion is the main contributor (85%) to such land degradation with an economic cost of US $400 billion per year. To ensure sustainable agricultural management there is a clear need to quantify the magnitude of soil erosion and to determine in the landscape ‘source’ of land degradation which can be obtained by nuclear techniques of fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and Compound Specific Stable Isotopes (CSSI) ... Read More »

2015 Country Impacts Highlights. During the past years the SWMCN has been working closely with counterparts and colleagues in Member States to generate a series of success stories on the use of isotopic and nuclear techniques in soil, water and nutrient management. These stories are achievement from both IAEA’s Coordinated Research Projects as well as Technical Cooperation Projects, showcasing how nuclear and related technologies are transferred to Member States for peaceful uses and the impacts obtained. Read More »

Vienna Soil Declaration - “Soil matters for humans and ecosystems”. The world’s highly diverse and dynamic soils provide essential functions and services vital equally to humans and ecosystems. This was the message at the celebration entitled “Achievements and Future Challenges” organised earlier this month by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA. At the event, IYS participants proclaimed the ‘Vienna Soil Declaration: Soil matters for humans and ecosystems’, which sets the framework for future research in soil science and links achievements to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and global endeavours to combat climate change. It sends a strong message for The Future We Want. Read More »

Celebration of the 2015 International Year of Soils: Achievements and Future Challenges. More than one hundred international specialists in soil and water will be gathering at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria for an international conference to mark the closing of the “2015 International Year of Soils” and to share and discuss achievements and future challenges in soil science. The Conference is jointly organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture and the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), to coincide with World Soil Day on 5 December and to mark the closing of “2015 International Year of Soils”. Read More »

Greening Kenya’s Drylands Through Climate-smart Agriculture. In a country where suboptimal agricultural practices already result in poor crop growth, low vegetative cover, low crop yields and serious land degradation, weather conditions resulting from climate change and variability have made drought and water scarcity common. Read More »

Viet Nam Tackles Soil Erosion With Nuclear Techniques. Soil erosion is the main contributor to land degradation globally, leading to an annual loss of 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil, with an economic cost of about US $126 billion per year. The IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), helps scientists and farmers in measuring and controlling soil erosion through the use of various nuclear techniques. Read More »

Working for Better Soil on Earth: IAEA Celebrates Global Soil Week and the International Year of Soil. The international community is coming together today for Global Soil Week to emphasize the importance of land and soil and the role it plays in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This week, the IAEA is highlighting its work supporting Member States to address land and soil issues and is supporting the designation of 2015 as the United Nations International Year of Soil. Read More »

More Bountiful Crops With Every Drop Using Drip Irrigation in Mauritius. Cauliflower, broccoli, sweet pepper and many other nutritious vegetables used to be expensive in Mauritius. The island's climate and traditional agricultural practices were not suitable for cultivating several high value vegetable crops, while importing them to the island state was prohibitively costly due to the long distances involved. This has all changed over the past few years, and local farms are now starting to supply the country's growing population and burgeoning tourism industry with fresh, locally grown produce. Read More »

Rice production - what Cuba can teach the world. Cuba’s annual rice consumption is estimated as high as 60 kilograms per capita, meaning each person in the country eats more than a kilo of rice a week. To meet this demand, Cuba dedicates some 200 000 hectares (ha) of land to rice production, but, until recently, due to soil infertility and the high cost of chemical fertilizers, the yields were low and more than 55 per cent of the rice consumed was imported. Read More »

Chile: Developing soil conservation strategies. ... the intensification of commercial forest and agricultural production in southcentral Chile has increased soil erosion and associated water pollution due to sediment delivery from the vast disturbances caused by forest harvesting and replanting activities. A programme supported by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre and the Government of Chile, is using fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and compound specific stable isotope techniques to trace the sources of sediments, in an effort to further develop soil conservation strategies. Read More »

World Soil Day was celebrated on 5 December 2014 around the world and the focus was to communicate the importance of soil as a critical component of the eco system service provider, its contribution to food, water and energy security and human wellbeing, as a system for mitigating of biodiversity loss and climate change. The IAEA, through its Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture participated in this celebration. Over the years the Joint Centre was instrumental to address soil fertility, quality and land degradation in order to improve crop productivity, ensure agriculture is resilient to impacts of climate change and reduce impacts of agriculture on climate change member states. Read More »

FAO/IAEA Proceedings of the International Symposium on “Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation” soon to be published: The papers for the proceedings have been edited, reviewed, formatted and are soon to be published in Q3-Q4 2014; these papers cover a wide range of topics. Read More »

Recent gathering on land and water management for climate-smart agriculture at the 2014 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly. Read More »

Success stories in Climate-Smart Management Practices: Biosaline agriculture and biofertilizer for improving crop productivity in salt- affected soils and for reducing the use of inorganic fertilizer and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) in agriculture in Member States. Read More »

Climate Smart Agriculture. With the help of nuclear techniques, the IAEA helps countries “keep the soil alive” and adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. Read More »

Video - More Food With Better Soil - Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. Using Isotope Techniques To Improve Soil Quality. See Video »

Soil Isn’t Just Dirt. Conservation agriculture and nuclear science are two of the tools being used to improve food security by making soil more fertile. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques for Agricultural Water Management. Both crop and livestock production depends on the management of irrigation water and the soil on which crops or livestock are farmed. Find out more on what IAEA is helping Member States to improve water management in crop and livestock farming systems. Read More »

New development - eLearning course for increasing more crops per drop!. The eLearning course on "Soil Water Measurement for Better Crop Production and Improving Water Use Efficiency" has just been launched to help farm advisors, land users and policy-makers with practical ways to improve water use in both rainfed and irrigated agriculture. This course is available free-of-charge and covers a range of topics, from basic to advanced levels relating to soil water measuring techniques, irrigation scheduling and methods of improving water use efficiency. To register »

Improving land use and soil conservation in Tajikistan. Soil erosion and land degradation are a major threat to soil and water resources in Tajikistan, where only a small fraction of the land is suitable for agriculture. To ensure sustainable agricultural production, effective soil conservation and efficient land use are vital. A study of soil erosion rates under varying conditions has been conducted to assess the extent of the problem. Read More »

Increasing crop production and addressing soil degradation in Mali. Soil erosion and inappropriate farming activities have caused severe soil degradation and nutrient mining in Mali. Both soil degradation and nutrient mining impose high costs on farmers, as they have to purchase expensive, imported fertilizers to increase the performance of crops in these degraded soils. Read More »

Road to recovery: Protecting Chilean agriculture and environment
Wine production in Chile currently accounts for about 11.4% of the Gross National Product and is an important component of Chilean national economy. About 32,500 hectares are planted with vineyards in the VIth Region, south of Santiago. Full Story »

Turning Adversity into Opportunity: Farmers reaping the benefits from year-round production of income generating crops in Coastal Saline Lands of Bangladesh
Rice is the major crop grown in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Soil and water salinity is a major threat to crop productivity in these coastal areas. Full Story »

Coping with soil and water salinity for crop production in Algeria: A continuing effort of integrated land-water management approach
In Algeria desertification is putting extreme stress on irrigated agriculture due to the fast rate of soil and water salinization, resulting in the drastic reduction of arable land with productive agricultural potential. Full Story »

Adaptation to Climate Change with Improved Agricultural Water Management
As the water available for agriculture becomes limiting due to population growth, competition from other water users, drought and water quality degradation, it is important to ensure that every drop of water (either from rainfall and irrigation) counts for crop water use. Full Story »

Extracting Fertilizer from a Clear Blue Sky
Nitrogen fixation in cereals has been a dream of scientists and farmers for a long time. If rice, wheat and maize are able to fix all of their nitrogen from the atmosphere in the same manner as soybean, it would have major financial and environmental benefits for the agricultural community. Full Story »

Food security and sustainable agriculture: The answer is in the Soil-Tajikistan
For more than 50 years the Soil Science Research Institute (Academy of Science) has been actively involved in efforts to combat soil erosion and land degradation in Tajikistan. Full Story »

Improving Agricultural Water Management for Crop Productivity in Africa
Agriculture is the largest consumer of water; accounting for over 70% of the world's freshwater diversion. However, only a part of this agricultural water diverted is effectively used in the production of food or other agricultural commodities and the remaining does not reach the crop/plants ... Full Story »

Soil Management and Conservation for Sustainable Agriculture and Environment
Nuclear techniques provide essential and value added information and technology for defining and alleviating constraints to intensify and diversify farming systems while ensuring the sustainable use and management of land and water resources ... Full Story »

Technologies and Practices for Sustainable Use and Management of Water in Agriculture
With increasing water shortages in many parts of the world, the SWMCN Subprogramme aims at developing isotope based methodologies to measure and improve crop water productivity (more crops per drop) Full Story »

Integrated Soil-plant Approaches to Increase Crop Productivity in Harsh Environments
The impacts of increased droughts, salinity and nutrient deficiencies are serious threat to the production of the major world food crops (wheat, rice and maize). Degraded and marginal lands (harsh environments) are the results of ... Full Story »

Promoting Sustainable Intensification of Agricultural Dryland Production and Combating Desertification in the Sahel
Four West African Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) and two East African countries (Kenya and Tanzania) joined efforts in a cooperative venture under the IAEA regional TC project RAF/5/048 to combate desertification in dryland agriculture. Full Story »

Saving Millions of Tons of Agricultural Topsoil in China and Enhancing Livelihoods and Water Quality
China is one of the countries suffering from the most serious soil erosion in the world. IAEA-funded projects conducted in the Loess Plateau (Nianzhuang watershed), Northern China (Fengning site) and North Eastern China (Baiquan site). Full Story »

Sustainable Land Use and Water Management on Reducing Soil Erosion & Improving Soil and Water Quality
The applications of nuclear techniques have significantly achieved social and economical benefits when soil erosion is reduced, as observed in the recently completed regional project RAS5039 in East Asia and the Pacific region on developing sustainable land and water management strategies using fallout radionuclides for reducing soil erosion and improving soil and water quality. Full Story »

More Crop per Drop and Better Environment
The Nigde-Nevsehir Region in Turkey accounts for more than 1/3 of Turkey's potato production (1.2 million tons). Sprinkler and basin irrigation systems have been used for potato growing in the past in this light-textured soil region. Full Story »

Combating Desertification in Agricultural Drylands
Agricultural dry lands constitute approximately 42% of the total arable land in Zimbabwe. However, large proportions of these dry lands are subject to various degrees of land degradation, which reduces the social and biological potential of the land and increases the effects of desertification. Full Story »

Chile´s Blueberries Bloom
The next time you bite into a juicy blueberry, chances are it comes from Chile, the world's third biggest producer. It might even be grown using IAEA "know-how" that is helping Chile´s farmers use less water and fertilizer, stop soil degradation and boost harvests. Full Story »

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Food and Environment

New CRP: Innovating Radiation Processing of Food with Low Energy Beams from Machine Sources (D61025). The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the IAEA Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences has launched a new five-year (2020-2025) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), entitled ‘Innovating Radiation Processing of Food with Low Energy Beams from Machine Sources’ (D61025). Read More »

Food safety and sustainable agriculture through integrated analytical approaches for pesticide management. The pressure to produce enough food for the world’s ever-growing population has had a worldwide impact on agricultural practices. Read More »

Improved food safety and security through food authenticity and traceability testing in Member States. Food safety is of paramount importance to protect the health of consumers and to help ensure food security. In many countries people’s health and livelihoods depend on food production and food exports are often a major contributor to the economy. Read More »

From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »

IAEA-Supported Laboratories in Uganda Responding to Food Safety Emergencies. Ugandan experts are now able to carry out independent sampling and testing of various foodstuffs in the country, allowing the Government authorities to determine exposure to contaminated food in a timely manner, prevent the spread of food safety hazards, and contain food safety emergencies such as the recent outbreak of food poisoning in the country’s North-eastern region of Karamoja. Read More »

IAEA Experts Collect Seawater, Marine Sediment and Fish Samples near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts today began a mission to collect samples of seawater, marine sediment and fishery products from coastal waters in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Read More »

IAEA Launches Project to Help Countries Fight Food Fraud. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched a five-year research project with experts from 16 countries to refine methods to apply nuclear-derived techniques to test for accuracy in food labels. Read More »

Viet Nam Enhances Food Quality Using Irradiation. Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – Each morning hundreds of boxes filled with frozen seafood, dried fruits and vegetables, oriental medicines and health foods are queued up in a store room in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Read More »

IAEA Supports a Revival of Cuba's Food Irradiation Services. Cuba’s fruit exports are set to increase with the reinstatement of former food irradiation capacities on the island. Read More »

Sierra Leone to Tackle Hidden Hunger with Better Crops Through Nuclear Technology. Njala, Sierra Leone — Malnutrition is not always visible to the naked eye. A child could look healthy but still suffer from massive nutrient deficiencies. Read More »

New CRP: Implementation of Nuclear Techniques for Authentication of Foods with High-Value Labelling Claims (D52042). In 2019, the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture will launch a new five-year Coordinated Research Project (CRP) ‘Implementation of Nuclear Techniques for Authentication of Foods with High-Value Labelling Claims’ (D52042). Read More »

Nuclear Science for Sustainable Agriculture: The IAEA-FAO Partnership. Interview with Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources at the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), and a speaker at the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, starting on 26 November. Read More »

IAEA Offers Webinar on Food Safety in a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency. An upcoming webinar, organized in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization in the United Nations (FAO), aims to help national experts be prepared in case an emergency involving a significant release of radioactive material into the environment makes water, local produce, milk from grazing animals and other foods unsafe for consumption. Read More »

Faced with Growing Demand for Services, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute to Upgrade Irradiation Facility. Quezon City, Philippines – Much of the Philippines’ spice and herbal products industry relies on the country’s only gamma irradiator for microbiological decontamination, but the facility at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) can no longer cope with the increased demand. Read More »

With African Partners, IAEA Enhances Regional Food Safety Network. Recognizing the burden of food-borne diseases, and the need to meet requirements for the export of foodstuffs to international markets, 238 delegates from 54 African Member States attended an IAEA-organized food safety workshop in Pretoria, South Africa. Read More »

IAEA to Step up Food Safety Work with Equipment Provided by Manufacturer Shimadzu. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to increase its efforts to help countries test for contaminants in food thanks to a donation of sophisticated detection equipment by Japanese manufacturer Shimadzu Corporation. Read More »

Revamping Food Safety in Costa Rica with Nuclear Technology. Costa Rica no longer depends on laboratories abroad to guarantee food safety and to stay competitive thanks, in part, to nuclear technology and to the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »

Benin's Environmental, Food Control Labs Join Forces to Track Pollutants and Increase Food Safety. With increased shipping activity along its coast and mining in the region, Beninese authorities are concerned about pollution that could affect the environment and impact the country’s agricultural products. The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre is providing technical assistance to Benin to ensure effective routine monitoring of radionuclides, toxic metals and related pollutants along the coast and mining regions of the country. Read More »

Benin Resumes Pineapple Exports — With the Help of Nuclear Techniques. Benin’s farmers can again export pineapples to the European Union, their most lucrative market, following the set-up of a food safety surveillance system with the help of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The exports are expected to resume later this month. Read More »

Equipped With New Capabilities, Laboratory in Pakistan Helps Improve Food Safety, Increase Exports. The Pakistani Veterinary Residue Laboratory in Faisalabad, a food laboratory supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has acquired the capability to undertake state-of-the-art tests to certify the safety of food. It has recently earned International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accreditation, and officials expect this to contribute to increased meat exports thanks to food safety certificates the lab will be able to issue for the first time. Read More »

New Zealand Can Import Winter Tomatoes Thanks to Australia’s Food Irradiation Facility. The Bowen region is Australia’s largest winter producer of vegetables. Tomatoes are by far its biggest crop, totalling US $ 120 million a year. Yet, even though it could offer consumers access to fresh tomatoes in the winter, its export market has been extremely limited. The problem is the Queensland fruit fly, an aggressive pest that Australia once controlled with pesticides that are no longer allowed. Read More »

ASEAN Fruit Phytosanitary Irradiation and Processing Centre. Food irradiation enables trade to fulfil phytosanitary requirements and is increasingly being used on a commercial scale. The China-ASEAN Fruit Phytosanitary Irradiation and Processing Centre in China is an excellent example of the technology in operation, where electron beam irradiation is being used also to prevent insect pests from spreading through trade in fresh produce.
Read More »

Costa Rica’s agricultural waste converted into charcoal to filter and dispose of polluting agricultural chemicals. Burning agricultural waste in a controlled environment to make charcoal and then using that charcoal to filter leftover agrochemicals before disposing of them is just one of the steps taken to clean up chemical contamination that pollutes the soil and water of central Costa Rica. In addition, Costa Rican farmers are being trained in Good Agricultural Practices that result in safe and high-quality agricultural products. Read More »

Farmer training and testing for veterinary drug residues improve Pakistan’s reputation in international food trade. Imagine having to tell a poor farmer that a full pail of fresh milk must be thrown out. The problem is, in many parts of the world, this scenario actually should happen more often than it does. It all has to do with how and when a farmer administers veterinary drugs to a dairy cow before milking. Administering drugs to maintain the health and welfare of dairy cattle may be necessary but, if not done properly, chances are that the drug will also be present in the milk. Read More »

How Nuclear Science Helps Botswana Control Animal Diseases, Ensure Food Safety and Maintain its Beef Exports. In Botswana, cattle is a way of life. Owning cattle and selling animals when money is tight provide the livelihood for much of the rural population and represent an important supplementary income for city dwellers. When in 2008 the European Union (EU) tightened sanitary requirements on beef imports, Botswana’s second largest export industry came to the verge of losing its most important and lucrative market. Since then, the use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques, introduced with support from the IAEA in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has enabled the country to put in place veterinary and food safety surveillance systems that meet EU requirements. Read More »

IAEA to Step up Food Safety Work with Equipment Provided by Manufacturer Shimadzu. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to increase its efforts to help countries test for contaminants in food thanks to a donation of sophisticated detection equipment by Japanese manufacturer Shimadzu Corporation. Read More »

International food standards. A video, available online below, has been made by the Codex Alimentarius, THE world food standards body. It highlights the Food and Environmental Protection Section of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre and its experts in food and nuclear sciences. With a direct link to the Joint FAO/World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius Commission and its international food safety standards, activities in joint FAO/IAEA programme are supporting member states and international standards. Not only does this work involve food irradiation proceedures, it also includes strengthening and disseminating Codex standards for analytical technologies to verify food authenticity and also to accurately measure residues of agrochemicals such as pesticides and veterinary drugs in food.
The FAO/IAEA partnership is an important example of a unique, interagency cooperation — with a fusion of complementary mandates, common targets, joint programming, co-funding and coordinated management all contributing to the safety of the food globally. Watch Video »

FAO/IAEA-NARO Technical Workshop on Remediation of Radioactive Contamination in Agriculture. The Technical Workshop “Remediation of Radioactive Contamination in Agriculture” was held at IAEA Headquarters from 17 – 18 October 2016. This Workshop aimed to promote and share knowledge and experience related to remediation of radioactive contamination in agriculture – including the improvement of emergency preparedness related to food and agricultural production in Member States and support efforts to re-establish agricultural trade from areas currently affected by residual levels of radionuclides. Read More »

Nuclear Techniques and International Food Standards of the Codex Alimentarius. The Joint FAO/IAEA programme and its dedicated laboratories work with sister divisions in FAO and the IAEA. In terms of food and agriculture, it specializes in nuclear sciences to improve food safety, protect consumer health, and facilitate international agricultural trade. The programme provides technical expertise and support to Member Countries in the following areas, all closely related to the international food standards of Codex: the use of ionizing radiation, food authenticity, the control of food contaminants, IAEA radiation standards and nuclear or radiological emergency preparedness for events that could affect food and agriculture. The Codex Alimentarius is highlighting a video report of the IAEA in Austria to explore the very central role that nuclear science has played in the development of international food standards. Read More »

Catching food fraudsters through isotopes – FAO Podcast. In this podcast, our journey into the authenticity of food takes us from a small cheese shop in Italy to the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory in Seibersdorf, where we explore how FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency collaborate on nuclear technology for food and agriculture. We'll also hear stories about the rice fields of India and Pakistan. Along the way we talk to producers, scientists and food safety experts about the importance of genuine food and the role of isotopes as the tiniest, but very powerful, allies in the global fight against fraud. Read More »

Contributing to Strengthening Food Safety: IAEA Commemorates World Health Day. Contamination hazards in the agricultural food chain can stem from a range of sources including residues of agrochemicals, and natural toxins. The economic impact of food contamination and fraud is significant, and food fraud alone is estimated to cost billions of US dollars each year, affecting up 10 percent of food products sold. Read More »

Food safety laboratories - As the food supply chain globalizes. What began in 2006 as a network of 49 food safety laboratories in Latin America and the Caribbean has now expanded to include representatives from 19 countries in the region with many more expected in the future. The initial network was made up of analytical laboratories and supported by the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre. It focused on addressing contamination problems and determining ways to improve environmental and food safety that had regional applicability as well as health, trade and economic benefits. Read More »

Indonesia: Irradiation - a matter of food safety. In February 2014, a landslide swept away a remote Indonesian village in West Java, displacing more than 2 000 villagers. At the time, Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency was participating in a Joint FAO/IAEA Centre project that was using food irradiation to develop safe hospital food and emergency rations. When the project staff members learned of the landslide, they decided to use the technique to package safe rations for distribution at the emergency shelter. The staff was determined to give the shelter residents more than just the calories and nutrients they needed: the goal was to give them food that would make them feel good. Read More »

Viet Nam: Preventing insects from hitch-hiking to new pastures. From very modest beginnings of around 100 tonnes in 2008, Viet Nam increased its dragonfruit exports to the US to 1,300 tonnes in 2013, an increase made possible because the fruit went through an irradiation process to keep insect pests from stowing away in the shipment, allowing it to be certified as irradiated, which enabled it to pass strict US import regulations. Read More »

Just the Right Amount: Using Dosimetry to Measure Absorbed Radiation . Photo Essay: Modern life just wouldn’t be the same without firm and ripe imported fruits, frozen pizza or überclean medical tools. All thanks to dosimetry! View Photo Essay »

A Laboratory Success Story – Colombian Pesticide Residues Analysis Laboratory. The Pesticide Residues Analysis Laboratory (LARP) of the Chemistry Department at Universidad Nacional de Colombia obtains international recognition and addresses agrochemical misuse in Colombia. Read More »

Sampling Procedures to Detect Mycotoxins in Agricultural Commodities. Adherence to regulatory limits for mycotoxins in agricultural commodities is important to safeguard consumers and to permit trade in affected commodities across international borders. Reliable estimates of mycotoxin concentrations are required to implement regulatory decisions on the suitability of lots of produce for consumption or trade. Read More »

Fumonisins: From Technical Cooperation to International Standards. Fumonisins, along with aflatoxins, are the major mycotoxins of international health concern. They are unique among the mycotoxins in being almost exclusively contaminants of maize, particularly when grown in warmer regions. Maize is a major human dietary staple that has been in the diet of Nigeria and the African region for centuries. Full Story »

Agrochemicals Unit Selected Country Achievements in 2005 and 2006
The training and methodologies provided by the Agrochemicals Unit have been put to good use in many countries. The "train the trainers" approach taken for the workshops and training courses organised by the Unit has also had considerable impact on awareness-building and expansion of the knowledge-base in Member States. Full Story 2005 », Full Story 2006 »

Food Irradiation: A Powerful Nuclear Tool for Food Safety
Consumer demand for safe, wholesome and nutritious foods is increasing on a worldwide scale. This demand, together with ever increasing global trade in foodstuffs, brings with it a number of related concerns: the possible contamination of foods by harmful micro-organisms; the need to protect crops from insect pests; and the need to support international trade and economic development. Full Story » [pdf]

The Role of eLearning in Supporting Analytical Laboratories
The Centro de Investigación en Contaminación Ambiental, Universidad de Costa Rica (CICA-UCR), is among other tasks responsible for the analysis of pesticide residues and a range of environmental contaminants and is accredited under ISO 17025-2005. Full Story » [pdf]

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