Airplanes to spot Xylella fastidiosa before visual symptoms

The methodology developed thanks to the EU Ponte project

28 October, 17:35

    (ANSAmed) - AJACCIO, OCTOBER 28 - Scientists developed a methodology for the airborne detection of Xylella fastidiosa in olive trees before the manifestation of symptoms. The aim is speeding up the promptness of the eradication measures while reducing the invasiveness of controls on the field. The tests of the new technique have been carried on in Apulia under the EU funded Ponte (standing for Pest Organisms Threatening Europe) project. The final results of this 4-years research program have been presented today in Ajaccio, Corsica.

    Ponte involved 120 researchers from 25 organizations in 10 European and three non-EU countries. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive EU research projects on native and alien pests in European agriculture and forestry. Besides Xylella fastidiosa, scientists investigated a bacterium affecting carrot and celery crops in Spain, Finland, and France, and the fungus causing the ash-tree dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). First observed in the 1990s in Poland, the disease is threatening UK ash-trees since 2012. The researchers of the Ponte project have detected the pathogen in the Mediterranean area, in Serbia and Montenegro, for the very first time.

    The Ponte final meeting will be followed up tomorrow and Wednesday with the second conference on Xylella fastidiosa organized by the European Food Safety Agency (Efsa) with the participation of scientists, EU Commission officials, and the farmers' and plant nurseries' organizations.(ANSAmed).

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