News about Xylella fastidiosa


Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium that causes a disease in a wide variety of plants, including olive, vine, citrus or almond trees, among others. This disease, known mainly as Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS in olive trees), Pierce’s disease (in vines), Citrus Variegated Chlorosis (CVC in citrus), Almond Leaf Scorch (ALS in almond trees), etc., is considered one of the major threats to agriculture and the conservation of biodiversity throughout the world, since it can affect both endemic and threatened species as well as crops of great agricultural importance.

The bacterium adheres to the plant cells and hinders the circulation of water and nutrients, resulting in the death of the crop. Xylella fastidiosa is a serious problem for agriculture, since it can affect food production and cause great economic losses for producers.

The bacterium is transmitted through insect vectors. Primarily leafhoppers, afrophorids, and cercopids, and can cause a variety of symptoms, from wilting and defoliation to plant death. Currently, five subspecies of Xylella are recognized: fastidiosa, morus, multiplex, pauca and sandyi, which in turn have their own variants.

As the bacteria spread, scientists in affected countries began working to develop effective control and mitigation measures. This includes the identification and removal of infected plants, the restriction of the importation of potentially infected plants. As well as the fight against vector insects (due to the ability of the bacteria to be transmitted through vector insects, it is difficult to control its spread) and the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. However, there is still no definitive solution to control the disease.


In which countries has Xylella fastidiosa been detected?

The current situation of X. fastidiosa is worrying, since it has been detected in several countries in Europe, Asia and North America. In Europe, Italy is the most affected country, where the bacterium has been detected in several regions, including Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. It has more than 250,000 hectares of affected olive trees. It has also been detected in France, Spain and Portugal, mainly affecting almond, olive, citrus and vine.

On the one hand, in Asia it has been detected in China and Japan, where it has mainly affected citrus, although so far the cases have been limited. In North America, it has been detected in California, where it has caused significant damage to olive trees and other crops. It is feared that it could spread to other states.

On the other hand, Pierce’s disease caused by X. fastidiosa has seriously affected the grapevine industry in the United States, especially in California and Florida. In 1880, Pierce’s disease was introduced to the state of California through the importation of infected plant material. Possibly in some vine rootstock samples tested for phylloxera resistance. The bacterium can cause diseases on the leaves and roots of the vine, which affects the production of grapes and the quality of the wines.

Despite the efforts since the 19th century to stop this problem, the situation continues to be worrisome. X. fastidiosa is highly resistant and continues to spread to new areas, threatening agricultural production and global food security. It is important that people who are engaged in agriculture are aware of the current situation and take the necessary measures to protect their crops.

Research advances

Unfortunately, the status of X. fastidiosa continues to be a global concern. In this sense, it is important to continue working collaboratively at the national and international level to find solutions to this problem and protect crops. It is essential to continue research and develop effective strategies to control the spread of the disease. As well as to mitigate the economic impacts on farmers and the agricultural industry.