XF-ACTORS aims to establish a multidisciplinary research program to answer the urgent need to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf). Recently, Xf was introduced into Italy, where it is causing severe damage to olive crops, and in France, where so far it is limited to ornamental plants and some landscape trees. The overall goal of the research program is to assess Xf potential to spread throughout EU territory, while maximizing its impact through a multifactor approach, based on a seamless integration amongst the 29 partners involved. Proposed actions will be complementary to those carried out under the Project POnTE - 635646, thus ensuring an unbroken continuity with currently ongoing efforts. Specific objectives have been outlined following a step-by-step route, from preventing its introduction into pest-free areas to the establishment of successful eradication strategies in infected zones. Preventive measures against Xf will be strengthened by implementing EU certification programs and developing a plan for establishing a EU Clean Plant Network. EU policy makers will be supported through the development of pest risk assessment tools, focused on current outbreaks and forecasting potentially threatened regions. Surveillance will be properly implemented, supporting the development of early detection tools for field use, remote sensing technology and predictive modelling. Critical information on the pathogen biology, epidemiological traits and hosts under threat, will be gathered with the guidance of the American research groups with long-established research. At the same time, the insect-bacteria interactions will be determined, for developing strategic control measures. The final overall objective is a comprehensive integrated management strategy for diseases associated with Xf, applicable both IPM and organic farming systems, to prevent Xf spread, control its economic, environmental/social impact, when an outbreak would occur.
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SN2 1FL Swindon