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Xf subspecies ‘fastidiosa’ found on almond trees in Apulia

Feb 24, 2024 | News

Checks carried out by the Phytosanitary Observatory of the Region of Apulia on insect vectors of Xylella fastidiosa have led to the identification of six almond trees in the province of Bari that are positive for the fastidiosa subspecies of the bacterium, according to a press release from the Apulia Region.

The Xylella fastidiosa fastidiosa is currently present in Europe, Portugal and the Balearic Islands, and is the subspecies of the bacterium capable of causing the dreaded Pierce’s disease in vines, which has caused damage in California and has been known in that country since 1892 and has never been eradicated.

“The discovery of this new bacterium is the result of extensive, timely and careful monitoring”, recalls the Regional Councillor for Agriculture, Donato Pentassuglia, “carried out by the structure of the Ministry of Agriculture. What is needed now is unity of purpose and action to support the phytosanitary safety of the territory. Now we have to put an end to the outbreak in time and eradicate the bacterium. We must not be alarmist, but we must be vigilant”.

In this case, it will be necessary to proceed with the felling of infected plants and, within a radius of 50 metres, of plants susceptible to this subspecies. In addition, surveillance will be stepped up throughout the demarcated area.

The discovery was made possible “thanks to an innovative surveillance plan of the Puglia region, which consists of monitoring through vector insects”, said IPSP-CNR Donato Boscia.

Speaking on a SKY television news programme, the research manager admitted that the finding was “somewhat surprising and worrying”. However, he urged people and especially wine producers not to “panic” because “the situation in Apulia is different from that in California”, especially because the main vector insects (the most famous being glassy-winged sharpshooter) that transmit Pierce’s disease are not present in southern Italy.

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