Lab tests demonstrate that Xylella is causing olive disease in Italy

The pilot  project conducted by IPSP-CNR,  in collaboration with the University of Bari and “Centro di Ricerca, Sperimentazione e Formazione in Agricoltura” of Locorotondo, aimed at  “a better understanding of the susceptibility of some important  perennial crop species to the Apulian strain of  X. fastidiosa (denoted CoDiRO), by testing the susceptibility of major  Mediterranean crops such as grapes, citrus, peach and plum, but also of forest species such as oak or  other  temperate  trees.  [...] Results from needle inoculations revealed  the high susceptibility of olives, oleander and  Polygala  myrtifolia (high  rate  of  infected  plants)  to  the  CoDiRO  strain.  From  these  hosts,  the  bacterium  was  successfully  re-isolated  and  symptoms  resembling  those  associated  to  X.  fastidiosa (leaf  scorching, die back, discoloration) were recorded during the experiments. Conversely, the  experimental plants for  the  remaining  species  (citrus,  grapes  and  Q. ilex)  did  not  support  bacterial  infections  nor  developed  symptoms” (excerpt from the EFSA scientific Report). Therefore, Giuseppe Stancanelli, head of EFSA’s Animal and Plant Health Unit, stated: “These findings confirm that the CoDiRO strain of X. fastidiosa causes olive dieback”.