|Importation of Plant-associated Microbial Cultures: What Are the U.S. Regulatory Requirements?
Zhaowei Liu: USDA APHIS PPQ
<div>One of the primary missions of The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-APHIS-PPQ) is to safeguard America’s agricultural and natural resources from the introduction and spread of exotic plant pests of economic and environmental significance. PPQ regulates live plant pests and biological control organisms. PPQ-PPBP issues thousands of permits and associated documents each year for the importation, interstate movement, and continued curation of these organisms. Many of these permits are intended for diagnostic, laboratory, growth chamber, greenhouse, and/or field research. PPQ permits are generally required for the importation of plant-associated microbes into the United States and its territories. Foreign isolates are considered exotic, even when the same species is common in the U.S. We require that research with these organisms be performed in a USDA APHIS-inspected containment facility. A PPQ permit may not be required for the importation of pure cultures of microbials that are not plant pathogens or do not possess biopesticidal properties since this falls outside of our jurisdiction. However, other permits may be required from agencies such as APHIS Veterinary Services, APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency and others. To facilitate the global research using microbes to increase agricultural productivity, PPQ strives to ensure that permitting decisions are as timely, consistent, risk-based and transparent as possible.</div>