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A European roadmap for the control of Xylella fastidiosa

Philippe Mauguin, the President of INRA, spoke during a meeting organised on 1st December in Paris by Stéphane Travert, Minister for Agriculture and Food, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. They assembled representatives from the ten Member States most concerned by the major threat to plants represented by Xylella fastidiosa. A roadmap was drawn up to ensure reinforcement at the European level of measures to prevent and control this disease.

European meeting on Xylella fastidiosa held on 1st December 2017. © Ministère de l'Agriculture et de l'Alimentation, SAIDOU Cheick
Updated on 12/15/2017
Published on 12/12/2017

Known in the media as the "olive tree killer", Xylella fastidiosa can attack a broad range of plants that are generally contaminated via sap-feeding insects such as plant-hoppers which carry the bacterium. X. fastidiosa then causes dieback of the affected plants, which may lead to their death. Identified for the first time in Europe in 2013, X. fastidiosa is now present in several countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy, where it has caused considerable damage to valuable olive groves.

Since 2013, INRA has been contributing its expertise in plant health to developing scientific knowledge, the tools necessary and a rapid reaction protocol to fight against X. fastidiosa. Philippe Mauguin’s speech during the meeting on 1st December focused on INRA’s research facilities and its work in epidemiology (Biostatistics and Spatial Processes Research Unit (BioSP), INRA-PACA), bacteriology (Research Unit for Horticulture and Seeds (IRHS), INRA-Pays de la Loire) and vector insects (Centre for Biology and Population Management (CBGP, INRA-Occitanie Montpellier). The rapid and intensive mobilisation of INRA teams on this theme has already enabled major progress in understanding the epidemic. The advances thus achieved will facilitate surveillance and enable improved prophylactic measures.

The European ministers who attended this meeting (from Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Greece) and the European Commission expressed their collective commitment to the fight against Xylella fastidiosa by adopting an ambitious roadmap to control the disease. This focuses on three main areas:

  • Improving knowledge by supporting an applied research programme,
  • Increasing surveillance so as to ensure the early detection and rapid eradication of any new outbreaks,
  • Reinforcing actions to raise awareness and provide information.
Contact(s)
Associated Division(s):
Plant Health and Environment
Polygala myrtifolia, polygale à feuille de myrte. Arbuste d'ornement sur lequel a été identifiée la bactérie Xylella fastidiosa en 2015 en Corse © Yellow cat & A Barra

the report

INRA mobilizes research efforts against Xylella fastidiosa

The bacterium Xylella fastidiosa has been the subject of much research in its area of origin, the Americas. Since 2013, INRA has been contributing its expertise in plant health to developing scientific knowledge, the tools necessary and a rapid reaction protocol to fight against X. fastidiosa.

Read the report >