`In Portugal, Xylella Infection Spreads to More Species - Olive Oil Times

In Portugal, Xylella Infection Spreads to More Species

By Paolo DeAndreis
Feb. 2, 2023 13:47 UTC

A strain of Xylella fas­tidiosa is spread­ing fast in Portugal, rais­ing the alarm through­out the coun­try and neigh­bor­ing Spain.

Portuguese author­i­ties have con­firmed that the symp­toms caused by the Xylella sub­species Multiplex have been detected in many host species, and new red zones are being estab­lished.

For the first time, the infected plants included sev­eral vari­eties of cit­rus. The updated list of infected plants released by Portuguese author­i­ties includes olive trees, vines, cher­ries and peaches.

Besides those, oaks and sev­eral med­i­c­i­nal and orna­men­tal plants have also been show­ing symp­toms asso­ci­ated with Xylella infes­ta­tion.

Seventy-seven infected species have been iden­ti­fied in the iso­lated region around Porto. In its Xylella jour­nal, the Direction General for Nutrition and Animal Welfare (DGAV) listed thir­teen areas where Xylella has been detected in the coun­try.

While most infec­tions are found in the country’s north­ern regions, they have also been spot­ted in cen­tral and south­ern Portugal.

In its last bul­letin about the Xylella out­break, DGAV noted that the pres­ence of the bac­te­ria was con­firmed by lab­o­ra­tory analy­sis in sev­eral ash­wood plants. Therefore, a new red zone was iden­ti­fied in the Penamacor province, in the cen­tral-east­ern part of the coun­try.

As requested by national reg­u­la­tions and the European Union direc­tives aimed at cur­tail­ing Xylella fas­tidiosa, all infected plants have been destroyed. Treatments tar­get­ing insects con­sid­ered infec­tion vec­tors have also been applied.

Within the bor­ders of the red zone, severe lim­its have been set on the trans­porta­tion of veg­e­ta­tion, and it is for­bid­den to plant any species sen­si­tive to the Xylella bac­terium in the area.

Given the prox­im­ity of Penamacor and other regions where Xylella fas­tidiosa has been iden­ti­fied, many farm­ers in Spain are voic­ing their con­cern, ask­ing for coor­di­nated action between the two coun­tries to halt the spread­ing of the pathogen.

In a note, grow­ers in Valencian farm­ing asso­ci­a­tions warned that the sit­u­a­tion should not be under­es­ti­mated. They expressed extra­or­di­nary con­cern for the quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive leap for­ward of the Xylella spread­ing in our neigh­bor­ing coun­try. An infec­tion poses an expo­nen­tial risk for Spanish and European agri­cul­ture.”

While of American ori­gin, in Europe, Xylella fas­tidiosa was first detected in Puglia, the south­ern Italian region, in 2013. From there, the sub­species Pauca, over time, has spread to mil­lions of olive trees, con­tribut­ing sub­stan­tially to the deadly Olive Quick Decline Syndrome.

See Also:Xylella Fastidiosa

Xylella was iden­ti­fied in Portugal in 2019, but its symp­toms had already been spot­ted in sev­eral European loca­tions.

All Mediterranean and olive-pro­duc­ing coun­tries have cre­ated mon­i­tor­ing oper­a­tions as requested by the E.U. reg­u­la­tions.

As reported by Agricoltura e Mar, given the epidemic’s dev­as­tat­ing effect, the many dif­fer­ent strains of the Xylella bac­te­ria have been included on the list of inva­sive species main­tained by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.


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