Xylella fastidiosa, a new phytosanitary threat for olive crops
Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al. 1987 (family Xanthomonadaceae) is a Gram-negative, non-motile, non-sporing bacterium endowed with a very peculiar biological and epidemiological behaviour: it colonizes the xylem vessels of the hosts and is transmitted from plant to plant by xylem fluid-feeding insects (leafhoppers of the family Cicadellidae). Because of its polyphagy, when X. fastidiosa enters a new environment with congenial climatic conditions, it becomes rapidly entrenched in the territory. This is what has presumably taken place in Salento, an area where, a few years ago, a destructive disease of olive (Olea europaea L.) developed, denoted olive quick decline syndrome (OQDS), together with a leaf scorch condition of oleander, cherry and almond. Information stemming from studies carried out by the Bari team has laid the basis for implementing a strategy for OQDS containment, based on: (i) accurate surveillance of the territory north of the infected area; (ii) elimination of inoculum sources in newly developed infection foci through the uprooting of infected hosts and the surrounding healthy plants; and (iii) control of vectors by mechanical weeding in late winter/spring to kill juvenile forms, followed by insecticide treatments against the adults when, in late spring, they move from weeds to olives.
Saponari, M., Boscia, D. and Martelli, G.P. (2018). Xylella fastidiosa, a new phytosanitary threat for olive crops. Acta Hortic. 1199, 251-254
Olea europaea L., bacterium, olive quick decline syndrome, vector