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Xylella fastidiosa

Pests that destroy olive trees

Olive trees devastated by the Xylella in Puglia

EPPOOlive trees devastated by the Xylella in PugliaEPPO

The European Commission announced a call for proposals for research grants under the €7 million it made available for financing research projects to detect and control Xylella fastidiosa, a bacteria that is destroying centennial olive trees in the Puglia region of southern Italy. This agricultural pest, which has also affected regions of France, is considered a major economic threat to the European Union. The government of Italy also committed to investing €6 million in research projects. Xylella is well-known in Brazil due to the damage it causes to orange groves, and in 2000, it was the object of Brazil’s first gene sequencing, funded by FAPESP. Brazilian researchers have collaborated with Europeans to research the interaction between the bacteria, plants and the meadow froghopper, the insect that acts as a vector in olive trees. “We are going to submit a project in partnership with a group from Italy under the EU’s Horizon 2020 project,” says Alessandra Alves de Souza, a researcher with the Sylvio Moreira Citrus Research Center of the Campinas Institute of Agronomy (IAC). The center is participating in the collaboration with Italian researchers along with Helvécio Della Coletta Filho of the IAC, and João Spoti Lopes from the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (USP).