Top world scientists discussed the potential risk for X. fastidiosa to establish in temperate European regions, such as Belgium, at the 4th European Conference on Xylella fastidiosa. Although the pathogen’s threat to northern temperate areas is considered limited, data presented by Lena Pesenti from UC Louvain and scientists from the Balearic Islands University and the Libre Université de Bruxelles at the event suggest keeping a high vigilance. The team that carried out the study identified Salicaceae as a possible alternate host for Xylella fastidiosa and potential insect vectors. The results, also in a poster displayed at the same conference, highlight the potential for the pathogen establishment and spread.
According to the findings published in a poster by researchers of the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, under the region’s climatic conditions, the establishment and proliferation of X. fastidiosa in common woody plants in Belgium is unlikely. Yet, the pathogen may remain latent in infected tissue for an extended time.
In the conference conclusions, the EFSA Panel on Plant Health chair and UC Louvain scientist Claude Bragard emphasized the need for further research on the risk of X. fastidiosa establishment in temperate EU regions.