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Information and Knowledge Management

The Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture plays a key role in the dissemination of information to Member States related to nuclear and related technologies in the areas of food and agriculture by providing these with factual, comprehensive and current information on strategies, techniques, products, processes and services. It provides technical support to Member States through:

Supporting Development and Implementation of International Standards

These activities relate to determining and setting international directives and standards in order to promote the development and application of international standards to facilitate safe food and food trade. Phytosanitary standards are handled under the auspices of the International Plant Protection Convention, while food safety and quality standards are managed by the Codex Alimentarius and other regional and international standard-setting bodies. The Joint Centre is also advising and interacting with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in the standardization of laboratory techniques for global use.

​​​​​​​Scientific and Technical Information

We aim to raise the appreciation and awareness of the benefits of nuclear and related technologies in food and agriculture by collecting, compiling, analysing, synthesizing and disseminating technical developments and know-how. To do so, we collate technical information; maintain databases; publish a broad range of documents, including books, scientific articles, newsletters and activities reports, thematic plans, manuals, protocols, technical reports, standard operating procedures and guidelines, and present current developments at international meetings and symposia. We also support international harmonization and standardization of critical procedures.

Strategic and Policy Advice

We aid strategic assessment of the applicability of nuclear and related technologies in food and agriculture by providing strategic and policy advice to international and national decision making organs; animal health and plant protection organizations; and academic research and teaching institutions. We also organize expert meetings, seminars, symposia and international conferences; conduct technical feasibility and cost-benefit assessments; and participate in committees and advisory boards in developing and developed Member States.

Public information

We aim to provide comprehensive information not only to our scientific, technical and institutional audiences in Member States but also to the general public. In addition to our current website, we also generate and disseminate videos, infographics, brochures, posters and articles in popular magazines. We also take part in several local information events, including the biennial Austrian Long Night of Research.

Database and Information System

  • IDIDAS- the International Database on Insect Disinfestation and Sterilization

The International Database on Insect Disinfestation and Sterilization (IDIDAS) provides information on the doses of radiation applied for these purposes to mites and insect pests of crops and veterinary and human importance. It includes data on both the doses required for the phytosanitary irradiation (disinfestation) of fresh and durable commodities infested with specific pests, and also the radiation doses used to induce sterility (sterilization) in target pests for the application of the sterile insect technique, inherited sterility and biological control as part of area-wide integrated pest management programmes. Information on phytosanitary irradiation and sterilization doses, where available, is shown together for each pest species. IDIDAS includes the most complete information available on major groups of insect pests such as fruit flies, mosquitoes, moths, screwworm flies and tsetse flies, but also other insect and mite pests.

  • IDCT-the International Database on Commodity Tolerance

The objectives of the International Database on Commodity Tolerance (IDCT) are to gather and interpret the literature about commodity quality after phytosanitary irradiation treatment to aid stakeholders in Member States to identify the doses of radiation that are tolerated by different commodities including fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers in planning for commercial use of the technology. The information may also help users of the technology determine optimum methods of applying irradiation, including pre- and post-treatment handling, and if radiation may augment quality or prolong shelf life. It may furthermore be used to identify gaps and inconsistencies in knowledge that may be explored by researchers.

  • DIR-SIT- the World-Wide Directory of SIT Facilities

The World-Wide Directory of SIT Facilities has been established with the objective of aiding the retrieval of information on facilities in the world mass rearing sterile insects, for purposes of using them to develop autocidal approaches or as part of operational area-wide integrated pest management programmes integrating the sterile insect technique, inherited sterility and related approaches. For each facility and target pest, the database compiles information on production capacity, the radiation process, quality control parameters and dosimetry. The major groups of insect pests for which DIR-SIT includes mass rearing information are fruit flies, mosquitoes, moths, screwworm flies and tsetse flies.

  • MVD – Mutant Variety Database

The FAO/IAEA Mutant Variety Database is a dynamic repository of voluntarily contributed information from Member States on crop mutant varieties that have been newly developed and officially released for cultivation.  The database includes new mutant varieties developed directly through physical or chemical mutagenesis, and those new varieties developed using existing mutants as parents in the breeding process.  Records indicate the mutagen and dose used for mutagenesis, crop characteristics improved, and other relevant agronomic data of the new variety as provided by submitting plant breeders.  The MVD is continuously updated as information is submitted and it currently holds records of 3365 mutant varieties across 238 crops from 72 countries, demonstrating the significance of mutation breeding in generating novel genetic diversity for crop improvement.

  • FCRIS – Food Contaminant and Residue Information System

This database contains analytical method protocols or standard operating procedures and information on methods of analysis, covering a range of chemical hazards including veterinary and pesticide residues, mycotoxins, toxic metals and other contaminants. The purpose of the database is to avail routine testing and research laboratories easy-to-follow procedures and experiences from other laboratories/institutions to enhance implementation of their food safety programmes. The methods originate from Member States, collaborating institutions, coordinated research projects or the FAO/IAEA Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory. Thus, besides serving as another technology transfer platform used to fill gaps in analytical capabilities, participating/contributing countries have the opportunity to share and showcase their work through the database.


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