`Andalusia Declared Free of Xylella

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Andalusia Declared Free of Xylella

Apr. 24, 2020
By Costas Vasilopoulos

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The Regional Gov­ern­ment of Andalu­sia has offi­cially noti­fied the Span­ish Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture that the region is now free of the Xylella fas­tidiosa bac­terium, after its detec­tion in 2018 on orna­men­tal plants at a nurs­ery in El Ejido in the Alme­ria province of the region.

The regional author­i­ties acted accord­ing to the National Con­tin­gency Plan of the coun­try in place to deal with such inci­dences, the gov­ern­men­t’s notice said.

The infected plant mate­r­ial was iso­lated and destruc­ted, while the nurs­ery owner was com­pen­sated for dam­age inflicted. Plant mate­r­ial prone to infec­tion from two other nurs­ery facil­i­ties that had sup­plied the El Ejido nurs­ery was also iso­lated and retained by min­istry tech­ni­cians.

Sur­veil­lance actions were imple­mented over a period of two years, includ­ing the col­lec­tion and exam­i­na­tion of 936 tree and crop sam­ples from the three nurs­eries. Con­se­quent analy­ses car­ried out at the Plant Pro­duc­tion and Health Lab­o­ra­tory of Alme­ria showed no infec­tion from the pathogen.

An inspec­tion zone of one kilo­me­ter was cre­ated around the nurs­ery facil­i­ties and 741 sam­ples of 28 dif­fer­ent plant species were exam­ined for infec­tion over the two-year sur­veil­lance period, among them olive and almond trees that are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to Xylella, with results show­ing no con­t­a­m­i­na­tion.

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At the same time, the min­istry experts exam­ined whether vec­tor host insects that could dis­perse the dis­ease existed in the area. Two adult spec­i­mens of the Neophi­laenus campestris, a pos­si­ble Xylella car­rier, were cap­tured and tested neg­a­tive to the bac­terium as well.

After all the checks and con­trols were com­pleted, the regional gov­ern­ment announced the erad­i­ca­tion of Xylella fas­tidiosa in Andalu­sia after the iso­lated detec­tion of this bac­terium reg­is­tered in 2018 on an orna­men­tal species present in a pro­ducer nurs­ery located in El Ejido.”

In 2017, almond trees in Valen­cia were found to have been infected with Xylella. Offi­cials destroyed some 300 olive trees as a pre­cau­tion and sprayed the area for insects such as cicadas and spit­tle­bugs that are known to spread the dis­ease.

In 2016, a study con­firmed the absence of Xylella in a range of the region’s agri­cul­ture. The 600 tests were admin­is­tered on olive, almond, and cit­rus trees, as well as orna­men­tal plants — and all in the Andalu­sian regions of Almería, Granada, Málaga, and Jaén.



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