Innovative and sustainable strategies for the control of Xylella-induced diseases
Successful Xylella-diseases management must use an integrated strategy that involves the principles of exclusion, eradication, and protection. Exclusion of the pathogen, avoidance of the pathogen, cultural practices, control of insect vectors and disease resistance are some of the control measures.
With regard to control measures, although there are some ongoing research lines, an effective control method of the pathogen applicable in the field is lacking. Control of Xf is therefore currently achieved by removing sources of inoculum, using healthy plant propagation material and controlling the vector(s).
The project ambition is then to include different actions (i) to control the pathogen and the vector developing novel tools (i.e. use of bacteriophage, antimicrobial peptides, endosymbiotic microrganisms, etc.); (ii) to enhance host defense mechanisms, (iii) to implement agricultural practices to reduce spread, and (iv) to produce pathogen-free propagating materials for the new plantations.
The overall ambition is to develop long-term sustainability of cropping systems that protect the natural biodiversity and landscape environments throughout the entire EU territory. Such control measures will be used to produce specific cultivation guidelines for pest and disease management and for low input/organic farming, taking into account the high numbers of host plants and vectors of this bacterium and the differences across production systems which may affect the effectiveness of the measures.