Top 7 undeniable things that happened with Xylella fastidiosa in 2020

xylella fastidiosa

2020 was undeniably an interesting year. This is also the case in the field of one of the world’s most destructive plant pathogens, Xylella fastidiosa.

There were several significant developments in 2020 around Xylella fastidiosa. Some positive, but some also negative in nature.

Take a look at our list of the top 7 things that happened with Xylella fastidiosa in 2020.

global threat of xylella fastidiosa

Caption: Olive field | Image credits ©Shutterstock

If you haven’t heard of Xylella fastidiosa, make sure to check out these articles:

Top 7 things that happened with Xylella fastidiosa in 2020

1. Xylella fastidiosa found in Occitanie

xylella fastidiosa in Occitanie

Caption: Xylella infected olive trees | Image credits ©Shutterstock

The so-called ‘olive killer’ has been been found in Occitanie, France for the very first time. It was confirmed in August 2020 by the regional plant protection services of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food in a lavender sample (Lavandulax intermedia – grosso variety).

In essence, Xylella has been confirmed in an establishment ”that produces and sells ornamental plants to individuals”, as shared by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

For more information about the identification of Xylella fastidiosa in Occitanie, click right here.

2. New EU legislation released on Xylella

Xylella fastidiosa buffer zone

Caption: Xylella fastidiosa in Occitanie – 2.5 km containment zone around Trèbes at 7km from Carcassonne| Image credits ©Préfet de la région Occitanie

One of the most significant developments in 2020 was the update in the EU regulation concerning measures against Xylella fastidiosa.

The European Commission decided to repeal Decision (EU) 2015/789 and introduce new measures under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1201. In short, the EU has shrunk the infection zones (from 100 meter radius to 50 meters) and buffer zones.

To learn more, click on the above-mentioned regulations.

3. Andalusia is declared Xylella-free

Caption: Olive field | Image credits ©Shutterstock

The region of Andalusia in Spain has been officially declared as a Xylella-free area in 2020. Xylella fastidiosa was first detected in Andalusia back in 2018. Positive samples were identified on ornamental plants in El Ejido.

After implementing strict measures as well as surveillance actions, Xylella fastidiosa has been eliminated from Andalusia.

4. New Xylella fastidiosa research projects launched

xylella fastidiosa biovexo

Caption: BIOVEXO partners| Image credits ©DOMCA SA

The BIOVEXO project, an EU research project dedicated to finding solutions to the challenges experienced with Xylella, officially started in May 2020 and is made up of an 11-partner consortium.

It is one of the few EU initiatives to help tackle Xylella fastidiosa. Click here to learn more about BIOVEXO’s research plan.

5. Significant output drop in Italy

threat of xylella in Europe

Caption: Harvested olives | Image credits ©Shutterstock

As reported by The Guardian, Italian olive oil sales experienced a significant loss of 26% as compared t0 2019. This drop in output was caused by the destruction of olive trees caused by Xylella fastidiosa in southern Italy.

If Xylella keeps on its current path of destruction, more economic loss can be expected in the near future.

6. UK tightens rule on imports

xylella fastidiosa symptoms

Caption: Young olive tree | Image credits ©AIMERIT SL

In 2020, the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, otherwise known as DEFRA, introduced strict rules on imported plants in fears over the EU legislation not being sufficient to prevent further spread of Xylella.

The revised national regulation even prohibits the import of certain plants in fear of possible high infection rate. Click here for more information.

7. More plant species added to Xylella host list

Caption: infected plant | Image credits ©Shutterstock

In 2020, 37  new plant species were officially added to the Xylella host list. This has brought the total up to an alarming 595 plant species which can host the deadly pathogen. Hopefully, this number doesn’t not increase in 2021.

what’s to come in 2021

Last but not least, there are signs of good news to come in 2021. Just check out this video where researchers are experiencing hope for the first time against Xylella, as branches are slowly showing signs of revival.

Are there any more news about Xylella fastidiosa which you consider worth of adding into this list? Please let us know in the comments section below!

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