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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

About CABI's UK centre

About CABI

CABI’s science centre at Egham was established in 1992, but CABI has had a scientific base in the UK since its very beginning. Over the years its work has supported hundreds of CABI projects and reached thousands of farmers in countries across the world. Much of the team’s current work is for national government departments, in particular Defra and DfID.

The centre operates across the globe providing support on a range of topics, including invasive species, pests and diseases, knowledge management and commodities.

Its scope is extensive – it carries out around 70 projects each year, which range from working to identify nematodes that are new to science in Chile, to seeking natural enemies for Europe and North America’s most invasive weeds.

With over 75 staff, a growing team of scientists carries out applied scientific research to find safe and sustainable solutions to problems in agriculture and the environment. An array of labs, glasshouses, poly tunnels and two level 2 quarantine suites with eight climate controlled chambers, mean the centre is perfectly equipped to work with almost any organism in the world, in ideal conditions. 

The centre is also home to CABI’s Microbial services team. The team’s specialist staff provide microbial expertise, with particular emphasis on agricultural and biotechnological applications. Services provided include microbial identification, culture sales and deposit, environmental and industrial investigation, contract research and provision of publications and training. The team’s work is supported by the Genetic Resource collection on site, which holds cultures of 28,000 living micro-organisms.

The centre collaborates extensively with both public and private sector organizations, NGOs, universities, governments and many more, in order to work in the most effective and sustainable way.

Plant in soil with tweezers

CABI and Rothamsted Research launch UK Plant Microbiome initiative

CABI and Rothamsted Research launched the first UK Plant Microbiome Initiative at a workshop sponsored by the Society for Applied Microbiology last week (26 April 2017).

CABI weed biocontrol summaries WFD November 2017

Biocontrol of Water Framework Directive weeds

Since April 2011, the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been funding specialist scientists to investigate the scope for using biological control for invasive, non-native aquatic and riverside weeds. The technique has the potential to play an important role in protecting aquatic and riparian (riverbank) habitats where chemical and mechanical control options are impractical or prohibitively expensive. This works helps meet EU Water Framework Directive requirements.

CABI, Bakeham Lane
Egham, Surrey
TW20 9TY, UK
T: +44 (0)1491 829080
E: cabieurope-uk@cabi.org

For Microbial Services

E: microbialservices@cabi.org

Map showing directions to CABI's Egham UK office. 

Controlling earwigs in the Falklands

The European earwig has become a considerable domestic and public nuisance in the Falkland Islands, causing significant problems for local horticulture by decimating many garden vegetable crops. This population explosion is due to the absence of natural enemies that would normally keep them under control. To try and find a solution to this... >>

Locating a biological control for tutsan in New Zealand

Tutsan, native to Europe, was introduced to New Zealand but is now a major invasive species. In 2011, CABI’s Swiss centre was approached by Landcare Research to investigate prospects for the biological control of tutsan. Surveys in the native range revealed a suite of insects and pathogens. CABI’s laboratories in the UK are currently conducting... >>

Azolla control

One of the UK’s most invasive plants, the fairy fern or floating water fern causes problems for anglers and water managers. It forms thick mats on the water’s surface which can double in size in a few days, blocking out light and killing aquatic flora and fish. Fragmentation of the fronds makes control by mechanical means virtually impossible.... >>

Controlling wild ginger

Plants from the Hedychium genus are widely loved and cultivated as ornamentals but a few are threatening delicate ecosystems in Hawaii, New Zealand, the Macaronesian Archipelago (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries), Brazil, Australia and La Réunion. We are researching natural ways to manage the plants where they have become invasive, which involves... >>

Biological control of Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam has rapidly become one of the UK’s most invasive weed species. A lack of natural enemies allows it to successfully compete with native plants for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, reducing biodiversity and contributing to erosion. Traditional control methods are inadequate. This project involves identifying an insect or... >>

Establishing the psyllid: field studies for the biological control of Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is highly damaging. It spreads extremely quickly, preventing native vegetation from growing and has significant impacts on infrastructure. Current control methods rely mainly on chemicals. Research however has identified a tiny psyllid from Japan as a suitable and safe agent to control Japanese knotweed in the UK. The current aim... >>

Unknotting Canada's knotweed problem

Originally from Japan, Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing plant species that is causing a great deal of damage in Europe and North America. This herbaceous plant forms dense, impenetrable thickets and its impacts are varied. Our scientists have already carried out a considerable amount of research in Europe and found both an insect and rust... >>