The European Commission (EC) has awarded one of the prestigious «Marie Curie» (MSCA) actions of the Horizon 2020 European research and innovation program to a research project presented by the University of Jaén (UJA) on the treatment against Xylella fastidiosa.
According to Mercacei, this is the project called «Fighting the Xylella fastidiosa threat to EU agriculture-Novel smart biopesticides based on bacterial spores ”, presented by researcher Julia Manetsberger, PhD from the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Hikmate Abriouel Hayani, Professor of the Microbiology Area of the UJA.
The project, which will be developed at the University of Jaén, in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology of the University of Cambridge; aims to provide new knowledge on the treatment against the bacteria in field conditions, while it aims to expand the repertoire of alternative biopesticides for use in agriculture in the European Union.
The UJA has highlighted that the unprecedented threat from the Xylella fastidiosa plague facing EU agriculture could cause an annual production loss of 5.5 billion euros and put 300,000 jobs at risk, if not contained its expansion. Therefore, the eradication of this bacterium is a key priority of the EU.
The researcher from the University of Jaén and supervisor of the project has pointed out that, however, no field treatment is currently available, which highlights the dire need for effective pesticides against this threat. In this sense, she recalled that «the ambitious Green Deal of the European Commission and its Farm to Fork strategy established a 50% reduction in the use of chemical pesticides by 2030 as a key priority.» «Consequently, the goal of the project is the development of a new smart biopesticide based on bacterial spores specifically aimed at eliminating Xylella fastidiosa,» she said.
Hikmate Abriouel Hayani, Professor of the Microbiology Area at UJA, has extensive experience in Antimicrobial Agents, Food and Environmental Microbiology. On the other hand, the postdoctoral researcher of this project, Julia Manetsberger, PhD from the University of Cambridge, has postdoctoral academic experience and also in the private sector in the field of Food Safety in Brussels.