International trade and travel has increased tremendously in recent years with plants and plant products being moved around the world. As a consequence, the rate of introduction and establishment of new pests (arthropods, bacteria, fungi, invasive plants, nematodes, phytoplasmas and viruses) has increased.
The capability of national plant protection organizations (NPPOs) to quickly and reliably detect and identify these organisms is critical for effective phytosanitary measures to be taken and for ensuring safe transnational movement of plants and plant products.
Laboratories are increasingly working under quality assurance systems (including accreditation) and need to have access to validated tests. In order to allow development, validation and use of methods for the identification of a pest, it is essential that reference collections are well maintained and accessible.
Q-collect aims to improve the status of reference collections important to plant health and the objectives of the project are to:
- make an inventory of existing plant pest collections in the European and Mediterranean region, and of their content,
- develop guidelines for quality standards,
- develop guidelines to improve the accessibility of these collections,
- design and build a network of reference collections,
- develop an info-portal on the web to provide information on the outcomes of the project,
- disseminate results to stakeholders.