European Biological Control Laboratory
United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
The European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL) of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) was established during 1991 in Montpellier. This new laboratory facility resulted from a fusion of the former European Parasite Laboratory, which began operating during 1919 in France, and a Biological Control of Weeds Laboratory, which started during 1958 in Rome. EBCL is now the leading overseas ARS biological control laboratory and is the first research facility to have been constructed beyond the borders of the United States by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
The management of insect pests, weeds and pathogens is
an important feature of agricultural research programs worldwide. These
invaders of plants and animals can lead to vast financial losses for countries
engaged in agriculture. In the developing world this can result in starvation.
The overall goal of research at EBCL is to develop biological control technologies, which can be used to suppress, invading weeds and insect pests. This is done through explorations to find natural enemies (insects, mites and pathogens). These are characterized in careful experimentation and eventually developed as biological control agents. These agents are major components of biologically based integrated pest management systems (IPM). The objective of biologically based IPM is a safe, environmentally sound technology which is practical, economical and which conserves non-renewable energy.
The EBCL team is international and interdisciplinary. At present it is composed of seven scientists, five support scientists, five technicians, and three administrative support staff. The newly constructed building situated within the AGROPOLIS Campus International de Montferrier-Baillarguet will host cooperators, visiting scientists, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students. Close cooperation with U.S. partners, French and other international institutions is a strong feature of the operation.
EBCL is a member laboratory of the Complexe International de Lutte Biologique (CILBA). This international complex for biological control, of which the current President is a member of EBCL staff, comes under the umbrella of AGROPOLIS, a non-profit consortium of various research agencies, educational institutions and agribusiness interests. Its purpose is to catalyze the development of collaborative synergy for various centers of excellence ("pôles de compétences").
The USDA/ARS acknowledges and greatly appreciates the sponsorship and support from the town of Montferrier-sur-Lez in the purchase of 20,000 m2 of land, and from AGROPOLIS in helping to implement building of our new 1800 m2 laboratory. USDA/ARS is most grateful for subventions provided by the Region and the District in support of the building project. Within the international campus of AGROPOLIS at Montferrier-Baillarguet neighbors of EBCL, such as the CSIRO, INRA (CGBP) and CIRAD are immensely appreciated. This new USDA facility will help the United States considerably to join with international cooperators to solve acute agricultural and environmental problems.