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Use of Extremophile Bacterium XT1 in Biological Approach to Promote Plant Growth and Tackle Pathogens

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XTOnE (Use of Extremophile Bacterium XT1 in Biological Approach to Promote Plant Growth and Tackle Pathogens)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2017-11-30

Verticillium wilt is a soil-borne fungus disease caused by the organism (Verticillium dahliae). It is one of the most serious diseases of olive trees worldwide because it can kill trees and is difficult or impossible to control. The presence of high levels of certain strains of Verticillium in soil eff ectively renders the land unusable for olive growing. Symptoms appear as wilting, leaf rolling, chlorosis, defoliation, and dead brown leavesremaining attached to the branches. On large trees, one or more branches suddenly wilt early in the growing season. Disease generally becomes worse as the seasonprogresses. Yield from infected trees is poor. On very young trees, the whole tree begins to look pale and stops growing. The leaves wilt and the tree may die. Darkening of xylem tissue does not occur in olive wood as it does in other species. The most common symptom on all Verticillium infected trees is chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) followed by defoliation. In some cases, very susceptible cultivars defoliate without leaf chlorosis. Sudden wilt, leaf rolling, and chlorosis is sometimes observed at the same time.

The cultivation and planting of new olive trees (the most susceptible ones) is rising as a consequence of a growing olive oil demand from consumers worldwide due to its health and culinary properties. This together with the lack of profitability in extensive crops like wheat or barley due to increasing draught, makes it urgent to find safe solutions to increase production.

This project aims to validate with olive growers the demand for a solution, how and when it must be applied and its economics, and a profitability plan to make available accessible to the growers, including the business model to make the technology profitable along the whole value chain.
In the 6 months period granted by the European Commission XTREM BIOTECH, SL has performance the following tasks:
- Study about the market, sector, competitors, customers segments, channels, end-users and stakeholders
- Calculation of the overall economic benefits of the solution compared to current methods in market and means of an economic viability analysis;
- Toxicity and ecotoxicity tests to determine the biosecurity of the strains.
- Initial approach to regulatory requirements to ensure the product compliance. Identify the best regulatory path to ensure compliance with European Pesticide Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 and spanish Fertilizers Regulation 2003/2003 (once revised) and ensure a proper strategy for biostimulants registration and compliance with national regulations.
- Preliminary freedom to operate analysis
- Elaborated Business Plan.
After 6 months of technology development, satisfactory improved results have been achieved in terms of invitro tests and field trials, reduction in up scaling costs, compatibility with other traditional agro-inputs and validation of the market/investors. The success of this technology will be aligned with the European strategy to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and will lead to a safer and more sustainable crop production, trend which is confirmed by all market forecast.
Evaluation of olive tree afected by Verticillium