Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium with great potential for economic damage. At the end of 2017, the European Commission once again sounded the alarm about a bacterium affecting various plant species. The microorganism has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of trees in several regions of Europe and has already infected and killed more than one million olive trees in Italy.
It attacks several economically useful plants without cure, such as grapevine, olive, lemon, almond, peach... It originates from Northern California and was discovered at the end of the 19th century. To date, no antidote has been found, but they have been living with it for years.
Existing methods to eradicate the bacterium are practised in France and Italy, where contaminated plants are burned and the area is sealed. The bacterium is spread through the bite of sucking insects, so it is essential to prevent infection and spread. Preventive measures can be much more effective than eradication measures.
In Spain, although it has not yet affected the large olive groves in the south, Xylella has been found in the Balearic Islands, Alicante and Madrid, so the Interprofessional Organisation of Spanish Olive Oil has signed an agreement with seven research bodies for the eradication, containment and control of this bacterium. The aim is to prevent the bacterium from reaching the large olive groves of Andalusia, which would result in millions of dollars in losses.