Review of research on the control of pine wood nematode (<i>Bursaphelenchus xylophilus</i>) using the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride and current status for inclusion in ISPM No.15

  • S. Buckley Dow AgroSciences S.A.S. 790 Av du Dr Donat, 06254 Mougins, France. Email:


The pine wood nematode (PWN), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the causal agent of pine wilt disease, is endemic to North America. The unintentional introduction of the PWN into Asia and now Europe has caused considerable damage to forests in these regions. The PWN was first reported in Portugal in 1999 where it has now become established and it was also reported in Spain in 2008. This situation led the European Union (E.U.) Commission to take exceptional phytosanitary measures for wood trade within the E.U. Preliminary studies on the broad spectrum fumigant sulfuryl fluoride (SF) showed control of the nematode, but complete eradication was not achieved at the dosages tested. Further studies provided evidence that 100% control of PWN could be obtained by fumigating unseasoned wood with SF. A review of these research studies is presented together with a proposed fumigation schedule. This schedule and supporting efficacy data on PWN and quarantine insects has been submitted to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) for inclusion of SF as an approved treatment in ISPM 15 (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures) which regulates Wood Packaging Material in International Trade. The inclusion of SF in the standard would provide an alternative fumigant option to methyl bromide (MB) which will be banned for all uses in the E.U. in March of 2010.

Keywords: Sulfuryl fluoride, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, ISPM No.15, Quarantine, Fumigation