Europe Joins Forces to Fight Xylella Fastidiosa

Under the Horizon 2020 program, the EU has joined 29 international partners in a research project to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa.

By Ylenia Granitto
Dec. 29, 2016 14:00 UTC

One of the projects that will be devel­oped within the frame­work of Europe’s Horizon 2020 pro­gram for research and inno­va­tion car­ried out over the period from 2014 to 2020 is called XF-ACTORS.

It con­sists of a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary research plan which aims to improve pre­ven­tion, early detec­tion and con­trol of Xylella fas­tidiosa (Xf) under dif­fer­ent phy­tosan­i­tary con­di­tions, with a view to opti­mize the impact of EU research pro­grams and ensure coor­di­na­tion and inte­gra­tion between the groups and the net­works involved.

The project aims for the strength­en­ing of pre­ven­tive mea­sures by pro­mot­ing inte­grated actions.- Monia Santini, Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change

Xf has affected not only olive trees in the Southern part of Apulia, in Italy, with the related Olive Quick Decline Syndrome OQDS (or CoDiRO), but also orna­men­tal plants and some land­scape trees in other parts of Europe. The over­all goal of the research pro­gram is to assess Xf poten­tial to spread through­out EU ter­ri­tory, while max­i­miz­ing its impact through a mul­ti­fac­tor approach, based on a seam­less inte­gra­tion amongst the 29 part­ners involved,” as reported by the Community Research and Development Information Service of the European Commission.

These actions will be com­ple­men­tary to those laid down by the Project POnTE, to ensure the con­ti­nu­ity of cur­rently ongo­ing efforts.

The gen­eral objec­tives of the XF-ACTORS project are:

  • To strengthen pre­ven­tive mea­sures against Xf through the imple­men­ta­tion of EU cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams, and develop a plan for estab­lish­ing an EU Clean Plant Network.
  • To sup­port to the EU pol­icy mak­ers through the devel­op­ment of pest risk assess­ment tools, early detec­tion instru­ments for field use, remote sens­ing tech­nol­ogy and pre­dic­tive mod­el­ing.
  • To gather infor­ma­tion on the pathogen biol­ogy, epi­demi­o­log­i­cal traits and hosts under threat, with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of American research groups involved in long-estab­lished research.
  • To iden­tify the insect-bac­te­ria inter­ac­tions, for devel­op­ing strate­gic con­trol mea­sures.

The final over­all pur­pose includes a broad man­age­ment strat­egy for dis­eases asso­ci­ated with Xf, suited both for inte­grated pest man­age­ment and organic farm­ing sys­tems, to pre­vent Xf spread and con­trol its eco­nomic and environmental/social impact.

The project, coor­di­nated by Maria Saponari of the National Research Council of Italy CNR, is part­nered with sev­eral groups, among which is the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change CMCC. XF-ACTORS just started and CMCC will par­tic­i­pate with an action focused on three main areas, includ­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of cli­mate pro­jec­tions analy­sis, the eco­phys­i­o­log­i­cal high-fre­quency mon­i­tor­ing and respec­tive data analy­sis, and the imple­men­ta­tion of phys­i­cally based mod­el­ing of the olive tree,” the CMCC’s sci­en­tific leader, Monia Santini told Olive Oil Times.

The project aims for the strength­en­ing of pre­ven­tive mea­sures by pro­mot­ing inte­grated actions, in addi­tion to the expan­sion of knowl­edge on the biol­ogy, genetic and inter­ac­tion of pathogen, guest and vec­tor,” Santini added. Moreover, the part­ner­ship will work on the devel­op­ment of sus­tain­able man­age­ment strate­gies to reduce the eco­nomic, envi­ron­men­tal and social impacts of the dis­ease.”


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