Xylella fastidiosa

Since 2010, CIHEAM Bari has trained numerous professionals in Italy and the Mediterranean countries to hinder and control the spread of Xylella fastidiosa.


Training activities are funded within several cooperation projects such as L’OLIO DEL LIBANO III and PHYTO BiH, and research projects such as CURE XF (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions).

Trainees come from 12 countries: Algeria, Albania, Bosnia & Erzegovina, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia:

  • 100 officials of ministries and local administrations
  • 1000 technicians and farmers
  • 200 Italian phytosanitary inspectors
  • 70 laboratory technicians from MENA Countries
  • 250 agronomists and technicians from Puglia

Research projects

Since 2014, CIHEAM Bari has developed three important research projects on Xylella fastidiosa:

EU Research projects:

  • XF-Actors: Xylella Fastidiosa Active Containment Through a multidisciplinary-Oriented Research Strategy, on H2020 funds
  • Cure XF - Capacity Building and Raising Awareness in Europe and in Third Countries to Cope with Xylella fastidiosa – 734353, on Marie Skłodowska-Curie fund

National Research projects:

  • Multitrace - Sistemi e tecnologie informatiche avanzate per la tracciabilità in fitopatologia, on PON MISE 2014-2020.

By the implementation of the above-mentioned projects, CIHEAM Bari has deepened several areas of research aimed at studying the disease, its mechanisms of transmission and control, such as:

  • Validation of detection techniques, on site detection (development of rapid in situ diagnostic techniques on plant and spy insects) and sampling methods for monitoring Xf in olive groves
  • Isolation from olive and oleander and characterization of the isolate
  • XF- associated metabolites
  • Microbiome of XF-infected olive trees
  • Identification of new host plants species
  • Spy insects: identification of potential insect vectors which could be used as spy insects
  • Innovative surveillance model: design and development of an innovative, multi-actor, multidata, multidisciplinary monitoring model for the early surveillance of the infection
  • Forecasting model for P. spumarius
  • Vibrations emitted by P. spumariusmanipulating the behavior of the insect, interfering with the reproduction of the insect and with its trophic activity to reduce the transmission of the Xf,
  • Sexual behavior of P. spumarius

The main research products resulting from the continuous effort of the CIHEAM Bari working group are:

  • Patented sap extraction method for pathogen detection
  • Real time LAMP commercial Kit
  • Diagnostic procedures and protocols by DTBIA
  • Diagnostic procedures and protocols by real time LAMP
  • Innovative surveillance system
  • Sampling procedures for monitoring olive cvs and olive groves
  • Study of the endophyte and epiphytic microbome associate at olive and interaction for X. fastidiosa

Technological Innovation for monitoring

Research activities have also resulted in the development of technological products used in Puglia as well as in NENA countries for monitoring:

Remote sensing: Development of the photointerpretation of aerial images for the immediate identification of olive trees showing the Olive Quick Decline Symptoms (OQDS) associated to X. fastidiosa. Identification of spectral bands associated to Xf

XylApp - XylAppEU - XylAppNENA: design and development of the application XylApp for Android tablet to facilitate the monitoring of inspectors in accurate data acquisition and transmission to the central Server, XylWeb

XylWeb: design and development of a software for the management of data flow from photointerpretation, field and lab to facilitate the collection, storage, traceability and real-time processing of monitoring data

DatbaseNENA: design and development of a Database for surveillance and precision management of Xf in NENA region.

Scientific publications

Since 2014, CIHEAM Bari has published many scientific documentations on Xylella fastidiosa, in collaboration with national and international partners, experts and research institutions. In more detail, the following have been written:

  • 34 scientific Journal articles
  • 4 Books
  • 1 chapter in book
  • 20 contributions in conference proceedings

Research theses

CIHEAM Bari has endorsed 18 theses, broken down as follows:   

  • 11 Master of Science Theses
  • 7 PhD Theses co-supervised & co-funded by CIHEAM Bari


Two reports on the socio-economic impact in the Mediterranean region have been drawn up by CIHEAM Bari. The first was produced in collaboration with FAO in 2019, the second was written in collaboration with SLM Partners in 2021.

An assessment of risk of Xylella fastidiosa and its potential socio-economic impacts in NENA countries

  • The study points out that there is a high risk of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) entry and spread in the NENA region, which would have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic impacts.
  • The high risk of Xf introduction, establishment and spread in the target NENA countries does not always correspond to a high-risk perception. 
  • Socio-economic impact assessment indicates declining yields, production, profitability, export, employment, and increasing import, with the highest impacts relating to olives, then citrus and grapes. 
  • For effective intervention, each country should promptly implement several measures, i.e., legislative (adequate regulations on quarantine pathogens), financial, technical (facilities and personnel), scientific (laboratories), and should establish a Mediterranean Observatory on Xylella fastidiosa, and a regional transboundary trust fund.

An assessment of the socio-economic impacts of probabilistic entry and spread of Xylella fastidiosa in European Mediterranean countries, in the Balkans, and MENA region, and a mapping of the compensation measures and replanting costs in the Euro-Mediterranean area

  • The simulation of the potential epidemic effect of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), based on the risk of its establishment and spread in target countries, shows that Albania has the highest risk of Xf spread, followed by Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
  • In MENA and Balkan regions, countries with fragmented and small farms are likely to face the worst social impact, but the Euro-Mediterranean area may suffer the greatest economic losses due to Xf on the target crop.
  • The results of this exploratory socio-economic analysis strongly suggest that impacts expected from the spread of Xf, in this wide scenario, are unacceptable. Across the Mediterranean region, risk from Xf on olives, vines, citrus, and almonds leads to the following losses:
  1. – 20.8% of production
  2. - $ 17 billion/year for target crops
  3. 7.4% of the region’s overall agricultural value
  4. – $ 8.4 billion of farm income (GM)
  5. 338 million working days.
  • The attention paid by many countries to this emerging disease, in terms of surveillance, monitoring and control actions, and of measures to prevent introduction and containment, including communication plans, appears to be inadequate.
  • In terms of compensation measures, the average cost of uprooting and replanting, and of business interruption for olives is estimated at €9,225 per hectare, while the average cost for vines is €24,584 per hectare.
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