Combined Efforts and Encouraging Outcomes at International Seminar on Xylella Fastidiosa

Researchers and experts attended the international seminar on Xylella fastidiosa held at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Bari to examine the current situation and define common measures to combat the disease.

Dec. 15, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto

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The International Olive Council (IOC) and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies CIHEAM orga­nized an inter­na­tional sem­i­nar on Xylella fas­tidiosa from 28 to 30 November at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Bari, with the aim to pro­vide the most updated infor­ma­tion on the dis­ease which is affect­ing the olive trees in the south­ern part of Apulia. 

Researchers and experts from Italian and inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions exam­ined the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion to develop com­mon mea­sures that can be adopted. 

In addi­tion to research, leg­is­la­tion and instru­ments avail­able to mon­i­tor the bac­te­ria, the top­ics cov­ered by speak­ers con­cerned the tests car­ried out on the bac­terium and its vec­tor, and the strate­gies and agri­cul­tural mea­sures to com­bat the rapid decline syn­drome in affected olive trees.
See Also: Complete Coverage of the Xylella Fastidiosa Outbreak
The experts also took part in a field visit and, dur­ing the final round-table ses­sion, high­lighted the need to strengthen sci­en­tific, tech­ni­cal and polit­i­cal col­lab­o­ra­tion among countries.

There are broad research efforts under­way that are pro­duc­ing encour­ag­ing results against the dis­ease. Among the many experts, Antonia Carlucci from the University of Foggia, made men­tion of a strat­egy to con­tain organ­i­cally the rapid des­ic­ca­tion of affected olive trees.

The Director of the Fruit Tree Research Unit of The Council for Agricultural Research and Economics of Caserta CREA-FRC, Marco Scortichini, gave a speech about pre­lim­i­nary results of field tri­als con­ducted in Veglie, in the province of Lecce. 

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During 2015, a total of 40 olive trees of Cellina di Nardò and Ogliarola vari­eties, were cho­sen to test the field effi­cacy of a 4 per­cent zinc plus 2 per­cent cop­per com­pound, patented in Israel, to pos­si­bly con­trol the effects of Xylella fas­tidiosa,” he explained dur­ing the con­fer­ence. In the orchard, the pres­ence of the pathogen was ascer­tained by means of mol­e­c­u­lar diag­nos­tic techniques.” 

The researcher said half of the trees were not treated and served as con­trol plants, while a total of six spray treat­ments were applied to the canopy of the trees from early April to October. During sum­mer, no treat­ment was applied. 

For each tree, the total num­ber of new shoots that wilted dur­ing the veg­e­ta­tive sea­son were counted. Programs were employed to test the sta­tis­ti­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the treat­ment and a mol­e­c­u­lar test was set up to pre­cisely point out which part of the leaf and twig should be taken to reli­ably detect the pres­ence of Xf within the tree,” Scortichini clarified. 

The untreated trees showed an increas­ing inci­dence of the dis­ease, with the pres­ence of new wilt­ing shoots and branches, while in all the treated trees the occur­rence of dis­ease symp­toms such as new wilt­ing shoots, was sig­nif­i­cantly decreased. 

This year, in addi­tion to the fur­ther record­ing of the inci­dence of the dis­ease, the quan­ti­ta­tive real-time PCR tech­nique will be applied to deter­mine the rate of reduc­tion of Xylella fas­tidiosa within the canopy of trees, offi­cially ascer­tained by the regional phy­tosan­i­tary ser­vice for the pres­ence of the pathogen before the start­ing of the trial,” the researcher pointed out.

At the end of the sem­i­nar, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the International Olive Council, Abdellatif Ghedira, indi­cated that Xylella fas­tidiosa is high on the agenda of the orga­ni­za­tion and recalled its role as an inter­na­tional cen­ter for doc­u­men­ta­tion and infor­ma­tion on the sector. 

Ghedira also announced the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the IOC in the XF-ACTORS” project, funded by the EU under the pro­gram Horizon 2020, which aims to estab­lish a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary research pro­gram to answer the urgent need to improve pre­ven­tion, early detec­tion and con­trol of Xylella fastidiosa.



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