`New EU Funds for Research on Xylella Fastidiosa - Olive Oil Times

New EU Funds for Research on Xylella Fastidiosa

Nov. 27, 2015
Isabel Putinja

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Following a work­shop hosted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) held in Brussels on November 12 and 13, 2015, the European Commission has announced that new funds are being made avail­able for research into Xylella fas­tidiosa.

The two-day work­shop aimed to exam­ine the knowl­edge gaps and research pri­or­i­ties which were iden­ti­fied in EFSA’s sci­en­tific opin­ion pub­lished ear­lier this year, and reit­er­ated in the con­clu­sions of a work­shop on meth­ods to con­trol Xylella fas­tidiosa held in Milan in July 2015.

On the sec­ond day, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture announced the call for research pro­pos­als and invited par­tic­i­pants to apply for grants which would cover research on the pre­ven­tion, detec­tion, and con­trol of Xylella fas­tidiosa.

Another aim of the announced scheme is to improve knowl­edge about the bac­terium, and specif­i­cally to shed light into its vec­tors, inter­ac­tion with hosts, vec­tor, and pathogens, and epi­demi­ol­ogy. The amount set aside is €7 mil­lion under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and inno­va­tion fund­ing scheme. The dead­line for pro­pos­als is February 17, 2016.

Xylella fas­tidiosa, a bac­terium spread by insects, has been blamed for the dev­as­ta­tion of tens of thou­sands of acres of olive groves in the Apulia region of South Italy. More recently, strains of the bac­terium have been dis­cov­ered on the French island of Corsica, as well as in sev­eral areas of France.

The European Union is the largest global pro­ducer of olive oil, pro­duc­ing 73 per­cent of the world’s olive oil, while con­sum­ing 66 per­cent.

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