Nemasys G and Nemasys H with the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora as the active organism are applied for as plant protection products in Norway. Nemasys G is intended for use against the garden chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) in lawns and Nemasys H against black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) in strawberries and ornamentals.
VKM was requested by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to consider the possible health and environmental risk related to the properties of Nemasys G and Nemasys H; in particular to evaluate if the nematode is naturally occurring in Norway, the potential for establishing and spreading under Norwegian conditions, possible taxonomic challenges and assessment of the health risk related to its use.
VKM’s conclusions are as follows:
Natural occurrence of the nematode
The nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora has not been observed in Norway, but is widespread world-wide in regions with continental and Mediterranean climates. In Europe it has been isolated in France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Moldavia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
Potential for establishing and spreading of the nematode under Norwegian conditions
The thermal preference of H. bacteriophora restricts its establishing. Short term establishment in the growing season is possible in parts of Norway. This nematode has however poor long term survival in soil, especially in the absence of suitable hosts, and the potential for long term establishment in Norway is considered to be low.
There are no taxonomic challenges related to assessment of this nematode.
Human health risk for operators
Exposure of user is considered to be low. The use of plant protection products containing Heterorhabditid nematodes against insects has not been associated with health effects on humans. The symbiotic bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens has not been linked to pathogenic effects in humans. It is therefore the view of VKM that the use of the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora with the symbiotic bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens will have minimal health risks for operators.