Xylella Fastidiosa Active Containment Through a multidisciplinary-Oriented Research Strategy

Topics of research

XF-ACTORS is a research project to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa through the establishment of a multidisciplinary research program
Genetic and biology of Xf bacterial strains

• Information on the determinants of host range specificity and triggers for pathogenicity.

• Information to assess risk of further outbreaks in contaminated regions and of disease appearance in other regions that are actually free of disease.

• Recommendation for the choice of plant species for different regions in the EU.

• Possible perspectives for alternative disease control by applying conditions or treatments that suppress disease development.

• Targeted containment strategies based on the evidences on the evolution of the population and bacterial spread in the infected area(s).

Resistant/tolerant olive germplasm

• Identification of genes involved in the host-response which may be used to set specific breeding and genetic improvement program.

• Development of a fast protocol for resistance screening to Xf in olive cultivars.

Novel tools for bio-control

• Discovery of molecules (sAMPs, DSF analogues), viral vectors, and bacteriophages that can be applied to prevent or reduce Xf host colonization and mitigate disease development.

• Identification and cultivation of a “core microbiome” or specific endophytic microorganisms to protect olives against Xf.

• Characterization and identification of endosymbiotic bacteria to be used to alter the fitness and the reproductive success of P. spumarius.

• Characterization of visual, olfactory and acoustic cues involved in P. spumarius communication to divert pest communication and host plant location (push and pull strategy).


• Operational systems that collect and automatically analyze remote sensing data for early detection.

• Biologically-specific simulation model for Xf spread and surveillance.

• Practical guidelines for planning Xf disease surveillance strategies.


• Efficient sampling methods for pathogen monitoring at different scales (field, nursery, consignments).

• Prototypes of portable devices and guidelines for rapid and on site pathogen detection in a wide range of host plant matrices and potential vectors.

Vector ecology and epidemiology

• Develop information on a set of vibrational signal to be used to develop novel concept of traps based on attractive stimulation of individuals.

• Chemical and visual cues involved in host plant location to be used to develop selective traps for monitoring and mass-trapping.

• Novel NGS-based monitoring tool for insect vectors.

Risk assessment and management

• Spatially-explicit models that predict and map the likely spread of Xf over time in Apulia and other threatened regions, for different management scenarios.

• Environmental and socio-economic impact analysis based on regional case studies.

• Cost-benefit analysis and best practice guidelines for Xf eradication and management.

• GIS-based regional risk assessment tool.

Dissemination & Communication

• Implementation of an integrated research database on Xf through EPPO.

• Structuring dialogue with stakeholders and establish participatory approach.

• Communication platform and social networks.