Kukiat Soitong, Witchuda Rattanakarn and Wantana Sriratanasak, Rice Department, Bangkhen, Bangkok, Thailand
Remote microscopy diagnosis (RMD) has been successfully implemented in Australia and New Zealand in plant biosafety program (Thompson et al 2011) . The online diagnostics capability has markedly improve quarantine’s ability to rapidly diagnose potential quarantine threats. The distributed centers where arthropod specimens are collected are linked through the internet to taxonomic specialists at their work places.
Rice arthropod taxonomists are scarce and biodiversity research continuously collects thousands of arthropods but had not been able to identify them. In addition in some countries it is difficult to move specimens across international borders. The traditional way of physically mailing the specimens to specialists is also time consuming.
In a recent CABI-IRRI-Rice Department cooperation workshop, Plantwise , the new innovative platform for sustainable plant protection developed by CABI was introduced to officials in Rice Department. In his opening address, the deputy director general, Khun Chanpithya Shimphalee welcomed the initiative as it can bring together pest diagnosis, pest information, training and certification of plant protection specialists. The Plantwise platform can be applied for managing pesticide misuse the root cause of planthopper outbreaks.
On February 13, 212, the Rice Department launched the mobile unit as a way to help farmers diagnose pests and natural enemies, provide expert advice and information to farmers in the remote area. The 5 vehicles are equipped with microscopes, laptops and internet facilities which are the basic needs for remote microscopy. Additional equipment and software have been identified to enable the linkage between mobile unit staffs and taxonomists. A training program will be conducted in July to launch the RMD capability with linkage with taxonomists at Rice Department headquarters as well as with taxonomists at IRRI.
Michael Thompson, Anita Lyons, Lalith Kumarasinghe, Darren R Peck, Gary Kong, Steve Shattuck and John La Salle (2011). Remote microscopy: a success story in Australian and New Zealand plant biosecurity. Australian Journal of Entomology, 50, 1–6.