Xylella Fastidiosa Active Containment Through a multidisciplinary-Oriented Research Strategy


Johan Van Vaerenbergh

External Personnel


The Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) is a leading internationally recognized independent research institute with a mission to perform and coordinate policy-supporting scientific research and associated public service in view of sustainable agriculture and fisheries in an economic, ecological and social perspective. ILVO builds on the expertise and knowledge of about 600 employees, 40% of which are scientists of various disciplines divided among 4 research units. ILVO conducts research on a regional, national and international level, and is a member of several international project consortia and research bodies. The ILVO – Plant Health research unit has about 60 scientists and specialized technical staff, with research and a Diagnostic Centre for Plants. The research focus is on 1) development of alternative strategies for disease and pest control based on biological and epidemiological studies and new technology, 2) new risks represented by organisms of statutory importance in the EU, and 3) conditioning of the rhizosphere resulting in more resistant and resilient plant growth. The ILVO-Plant Health experts are active in all relevant plant health networks in Europe (EPPO, EFSA, COST, EUPHRESCO I and II, C-IPM). Research facilities are in accordance with current high level biosafety regulations.

Role in the Project

ILVO is involved in WP2 ‘Biology and genetics of relevant X. fastidiosa strains’, and leads WP9 ‘Building capacity and competence to strengthen and implement the EU plant health regime’. More specificaly, in WP2 ILVO executes a PhD study on  the risk of Xf for plants grown in a temperate climate, but also combined with other growth conditions such as drought and fertilisation. The study wants to contribute to knowledge on the status of plant species as symptomless pathogen carriers or as hosts  in which disease may develop. The  xylem sap is useful for studying Xf interactions with the host plant.  In WP9 ILVO takes the special task of producing guidelines for surveys and eradication  in order to strengthen EU plant biosecurity.