Life Resilience advocates for innovation and synergies in the fight against Xylella fastidiosa

  • The I International Meeting on Xylella fastidiosa «Synergies to prevent the disease» has brought together more than 70 professionals from the olive sector and the field of research
  • Life Resilience is a project that seeks to find sustainable and productive practices for the prevention of Xylella fastidiosa in the olive and almond tree intensive plantations

Life Resilience, the project co-financed by the Life program of the European Union, whose main objective is the prevention of Xylella fastidiosa in high density farms, both olive and almond, has brought together more of 70 professionals from the olive and scientific sector to discuss the important challenge posed by this bacterium and the prevention of its effects within the framework of the Smart Agrifood Summit, held in Malaga on June 20 and 21.

The nine partners that are part of this European project work in three countries with high plague risk (Spain, Portugal and Italy). Therefore, this project was born in 2017 to respond to a plant disease that is cause for alarm for the main producers of olives and olive oil, not only because of the negative agronomic impact, but also because of the economic impact associated with the eradication of crops when tres are infected.

The meeting was opened by the president of ASAJA Nacional, Pedro Barato, who stressed that «we must take it seriously and put all the means to carry out any initiative, always hand in hand with universities, their scientists and the professors, and the political class has to support the professionals of science».

Then, the CEO of Galpagro, Francisco Gálvez, has moderated the first round table under the title Xylella fastidiosa, the great challenge of the olive sector, which has counted with representatives of the public and private sector that have addressed the analysis of the economic impact and environment of Xylella fastidiosa and the measures they are taking to fight against it. The disease is attacked with a greater knowledge of the bacteria, its propagation by vectors and the control of the insects that transmit it, but for achieving this, there must be public-private alliances that allow to advance in this knowledge.

The head of R + D + i of the Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español, Rafael Sánchez de Puerta, explained the work that this institution does for the prevention of the bacteria and the collaboration that they maintain with six projects for this purpose. From the University of Córdoba, the expert professor in diseases and plant pests, Antonio Trapero, has stressed that «more important than curing the sick plant, is to prevent others from becoming infected» in reference to the investigations that are currently being carried out. To end the table, the ASAJA representative in Brussels, José María Castilla, has highlighted the need to promote innovation at a European level. «Biotechnology should have an important role with regard to Xylella fastidiosa and will help create bacteria resistant varieties. Europe can not lose the innovation train again”, said Castilla.

The second round table under the title The fight against Xylella fastidiosa: a commitment to research and prevention has been moderated by the professor and professor emeritus of the University of Córdoba, Luis Rallo, and it has addressed the steps that have been taken since the appearance of Xylella fastidiosa in 2013 in Italy and the package of prevention measures indispensable for a farmer.

The Director of Life Resilience, Teresa Carrillo, has explained the main objectives and working methods that are carried out from Life Resilience. «This summer 500 new genotypes will be planted, which will be added to the 500 already planted in the El Valenciano farm in Carmona (Seville) and we will analyze their agronomic characteristics» explained Carrillo.

For his part, Pedro Palazón, Technical Director of Ideagro and technological partner of Life Resilience, stressed that «the inoculation of microorganisms or products derived from microbial fermentation in plants helps to suppress diseases, activating defense mechanisms of the plant. We are implementing biotechnology tools to objectively evaluate the effect of these strategies. «The head researcher of the Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera de Andalucía, Lorenzo León, has concluded the table presenting the new knowledge available about this bacterium and how it acts: «dealing with the bacterium is difficult due to its variability because it has several subspecies, because of the different genetic groups and because of the long incubation period it has».

Through this day, Life Resilience has wanted to share all the knowledge and research that exists around Xylella fastidiosa and share the natural practices and methods of vector control that are being investigated.