• By The Financial District


Spanish scientists have isolated microorganisms that feed on bacteria and are able to eliminate Xylella fastidiosa, a plant pathogen that attacks coffee, olive, plum, peach and other plants and has no cure at the moment.

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The group, coordinated by Maria Domingo-Calap, presented the results of the research at the final conference of the EU-funded research project XF-ACTORS, which was entirely dedicated to Xylella fastidiosa and was held late in April 2021 in Brussels, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The scientists isolated 22 bacteriophage microorganisms from wastewater samples in mainland Spain. Many of them can eliminate the population of Xylella fastidiosa in infected plants and could be used in products for biological control of the bacterium.

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The next steps are the genome sequencing of microorganisms and the study of their response to different subspecies and strains of Xylella fastidiosa.

A gram-negative bacterium, it is transmitted exclusively by xylem fluid feeding sap insects.

It causes the phony peach disease (PPD) in peach and a number of leaf scorch diseases such as oleander leaf scorch (OLS), coffee leaf scorch (CLS), and plum (Prunus domestica) leaf scald (PLS).

Severe infections in some of the most damaging combinations of host plant and Xylella sub-species can result in dieback, stunting and eventual death, for example, of olive trees or grapevines (on which it is known as Pierce's disease).


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