Olive Oil Commission of California Funds Research

The OOCC's research projects for the new fiscal year will give the state's producers insight into the control of olive knot and olive anthracnose.

The OOCC will provide nearly $15,000 of funding to research olive anthracnose. Photo courtesy of Valmir Duarte
Oct. 1, 2019
By Lisa Anderson
The OOCC will provide nearly $15,000 of funding to research olive anthracnose. Photo courtesy of Valmir Duarte

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The Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) has set aside $170,250 for research and related ini­tia­tives for the state’s olive oil sec­tor in the 2019/20 fis­cal year.

The major­ity of this fund­ing from the OOCC, which was formed to sup­port research for the California olive oil indus­try, will go to the UC Davis Olive Center, which is set to under­take many of the new research projects.

Anytime we can bet­ter under­stand issues that are affect­ing our qual­ity and pro­duc­tion, it is going to ben­e­fit all olive oil pro­duc­ers in California.- Chris Zanobini, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the OOCC

This includes $14,849 for research into olive anthrac­nose – a fun­gal dis­ease that attacks olive fruit – in California and a $15,000 research project on the epi­demi­ol­ogy and man­age­ment of olive knot, which causes growths on olive trees.

Olive knot is one of the most preva­lent dis­eases for high and medium-den­sity olives for oil,” Chris Zanobini, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the OOCC, told Olive Oil Times. If we can effec­tively min­i­mize the spread or the pres­ence of the dis­ease, as well as have effec­tive tools to com­bat it, we can ensure the future growth of high-qual­ity olive oil from California.”

See Also: California Olive Oil News

Anytime we can bet­ter under­stand issues that are affect­ing our qual­ity and pro­duc­tion, it is going to ben­e­fit all olive oil pro­duc­ers in California,” he added.

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OOCC research coor­di­na­tor Tyler Rood said olive knot is one of the most eco­nom­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant dis­eases for olive grow­ers in the state.

Infection may lead to tree defo­li­a­tion, dieback and reduced tree vigor, which ulti­mately low­ers fruit yield and qual­ity,” Rood told Olive Oil Times

He added that the OOCC and California Olive Committee (COC) are jointly fund­ing a sep­a­rate project to pro­vide olive grow­ers with the knowl­edge and tools to com­bat the dis­ease.

Jim Adaskaveg, a plant pathol­o­gist at UC Riverside who has inves­ti­gated the epi­demi­ol­ogy of olive knot, is now using this knowl­edge to develop and pro­mote inte­grated man­age­ment strate­gies for the con­trol of the dis­ease in California.

Rood said Adaskaveg has shown that olive knot is caused by an oppor­tunis­tic pathogen, Pseudomonas savas­tanoi pv. Savastanoi, which is more preva­lent in damp con­di­tions and can infect olive [trees] through wounds caused by mechan­i­cal injuries from prun­ing and har­vest.”

To reduce the rate of new infec­tions, Adaskaveg pro­motes the prun­ing and removal of wood infected with olive knot dur­ing dry peri­ods, as well as the san­i­ti­za­tion of prun­ing and har­vest equip­ment fol­low­ing expo­sure to olive knot.

Jim has gone so far as to eval­u­ate new san­i­ta­tion mate­ri­als,” Rood said. Namely qua­ter­nary ammo­nium.”

He added that qua­ter­nary ammo­nium is highly effec­tive for san­i­tiz­ing prun­ing and har­vest­ing equip­ment, and is non-cor­ro­sive.

Rood said cop­per-based bac­te­ri­cides, which are widely used in both con­ven­tional and organic agri­cul­ture, is the only avail­able and effec­tive foliage treat­ment for the con­trol of olive knot.

Adaskaveg also eval­u­ates the effec­tive­ness of cop­per alter­na­tives aimed at reduc­ing depen­dence on the metal and pre­vent­ing wide­spread Pseudomonas savas­tanoi pv. Savastanoi resis­tant to cop­per. He will present his annual find­ings at California Olive Oil Day, which is funded by the OOCC, on March 5, 2020.

Meanwhile, the OOCC research project on the occur­rence and dis­tri­b­u­tion of olive anthrac­nose in California is led by Florent Trouillas, assis­tant coop­er­a­tive exten­sion spe­cial­ist at the UC Davis plant pathol­ogy depart­ment.

Rood said this project aims to iden­tify which species of Colletotrichum fun­gus are asso­ci­ated with olive anthrac­nose in California, and if these species cause dis­ease to the main cul­ti­vars found in the Golden State.

He said symp­toms resem­bling olive anthrac­nose have recently been iden­ti­fied in olive orchards in the Sacramento Valley.

While strains of Colletotrichum are known to cause olive anthrac­nose through­out the world and dis­ease of other com­modi­ties found within California,” Rood said. The occur­rence of olive anthrac­nose in California remains unknown.”

Given that olive anthrac­nose poses a threat to olive orchards world­wide, and neg­a­tively impacts yields and qual­ity of olive oils made from affected fruit, it is impor­tant that we as an indus­try act and deter­mine the occur­rence and dis­tri­b­u­tion of olive anthrac­nose in California,” he added. Documenting the occur­rence and dis­tri­b­u­tion of the dis­ease in California will allow the indus­try to begin devel­op­ing man­age­ment pro­to­cols and reg­is­ter­ing new mate­ri­als for con­trol of the dis­ease.”

Should Colletotrichum not be iso­lated and iden­ti­fied from symp­to­matic tis­sues sam­pled from sur­veyed oil olive orchards,” Rood fur­ther explained, Florent will iden­tify and record which pathogens are caus­ing the symp­toms observed in orchards. These efforts will help the indus­try to record the geo­graph­i­cal and sea­sonal occur­rence of dis­eases of oil olives within the Central Valley.”

Another research project funded by the OOCC for the 2019/20 fis­cal year is a $30,000 project to update the olive pro­duc­tion man­ual. In addi­tion, the OOCC is fund­ing a $6,500 project to iden­tify areas of irri­ga­tion man­age­ment in California that lack suf­fi­cient research.

They are also fund­ing a $7,500 research project on pea­cock spot – jointly funded with the COC – and a $10,000 project on the nutri­tional needs of olive orchards.

Additionally, the OOCC is invest­ing $7,500 to com­pile a data­base to ensure their purity stan­dards are in line with the char­ac­ter­is­tics of extra vir­gin olive oils pro­duced in the state; $42,850 for a sur­vey of the qual­ity of California olive oil; and $11,250 to eval­u­ate the impact of the OOCC’s manda­tory sam­pling and test­ing on the qual­ity of the state’s olive oil.

Besides these research projects, the OOCC funds California Olive Oil Day, which was launched two years ago and gives grow­ers the oppor­tu­nity to inter­act with researchers at the Olive Center.


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