Research Shows Leccino Less Susceptible to Xf

According to a new study, the Leccino olive variety appears to be ‘tolerant’ to the attack of the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium that has wiped out large swaths of Italian olive-growing regions.

Leccino olives
Jul. 14, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto
Leccino olives

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Accord­ing to new research the vari­ety Lec­cino appears to be tol­er­ant’ to the attack of the Xylella fas­tidiosa bac­terium.

The study, con­ducted by the Insti­tute for Sus­tain­able Plant Pro­tec­tion IPSP of the National research Coun­cil of Italy CNR in Bari and the Depart­ment of Sci­ence of Soil, Plants And Food DiSSPA of the Uni­ver­sity of Bari UNIBA, was pub­lished in the inter­na­tional jour­nal BMC Genomics.

Lec­cino is endowed with an intrin­sic tol­er­ance to Xylella fas­tidiosa- National research Coun­cil of Italy CNR in Bari

Researchers com­pared the genetic pro­files of Lec­cino and Ogliarola salentina infected by the Xylella fas­tidiosa subsp. pauca (Xfp) bac­terium based on field obser­va­tions that sug­gested Xfp-infected plants of Lec­cino showed much milder symp­toms,” than the more widely grown and highly sus­cep­ti­ble Ogliarola Salentina.

There­fore, researchers noted, to deter­mine whether these field obser­va­tions under­lie a tol­er­ant con­di­tion of cv. Lec­cino, which could be exploited for less­en­ing the eco­nomic impact of the dis­ease on the local olive indus­try, tran­scrip­tional changes occur­ring in plants of the two cul­ti­vars affected by Xfp were inves­ti­gated.”
See more: Com­plete Cov­er­age of the Xylella Fas­tidiosa Out­break
The data sug­gest that Xfp elic­its a dif­fer­ent tran­scrip­tome response in the two cul­ti­vars, which deter­mines a lower pathogen con­cen­tra­tion in cv. Lec­cino and indi­cates that this cul­ti­var may har­bor genetic con­stituents and/or reg­u­la­tory ele­ments which coun­ter­act Xfp infec­tion.” In other words, Lec­cino is endowed with an intrin­sic tol­er­ance to Xfp.”

In the last few days, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Mau­r­izio Mar­tina said that a bud­get of €11 mil­lion has been set aside for the Apu­lian farms affected by the Xf emer­gency. We pro­ceeded to com­plete the process of allot­ment of resources and to sign the decree which allo­cates resources to the region for the recov­ery of the dam­age suf­fered,” the min­is­ter announced dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion.


More­over, MEPs Paolo De Cas­tro and Raf­faele Fitto have tabled a ques­tion to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion ask­ing to remove the pro­hi­bi­tion con­cern­ing the plant­ing of host plants in infected zones” (pro­vided for in arti­cle 5 of the Com­mis­sion Imple­ment­ing Deci­sion (EU) 2015/789), which include the provinces of Lecce and part of Taranto and Brin­disi.

The research of IPSP and DiSSPA cor­rob­o­rates the request but it is also a mat­ter of con­cern for those who believe it could encour­age the replace­ment in the infected area with Lec­cino and other tol­er­ant vari­eties, not native to the region, caus­ing a rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of the ter­ri­tory.

This solu­tion will please those who work to con­vert the Apu­lian olive grow­ing in inten­sive and super-inten­sive, call­ing for a revi­sion of the laws on cut­ting down of mon­u­men­tal olive trees,” con­sid­ered an inde­pen­dent local mag­a­zine.

How­ever, researchers noted that these pre­lim­i­nary data need exten­sive lab­o­ra­tory and field eval­u­a­tion before a prac­ti­cal exploita­tion of the cv. Lec­cino for the man­age­ment of Xfp in olives.”

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