XF-Actors is the first research project in Europe entirely devoted to research on the bacterium Xylella fastidious. It involves a multidisciplinary research program implemented by an international consortium of 29 partners. The project is funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2010 program.
The recent emergence of Xylella Fastidiosa into Europe, as evidenced by its widespread distribution in the southern region of Apulia in Italy, as well as its presence throughout Corsica, southeastern France and Baleari island (Spain) has greatly increased the awareness of the threat that this pathogen poses to European agriculture and environment.
This raised the interest about the possibility of limiting the number of potential introductions into Europe, but also the necessity of surveillance to prevent further spread into the European Union territory, and the development of sustainable management approaches to minimize the impact of the infections in the area where the pathogen is no longer eradicable.
XF-ACTORS offers the unique possibility to the EU research groups to set a collaborative research network with the American research centers and Taiwan, possessing the major international expertise and scientific background existing in the international scientific community on this pathogen.
This collaborative approach will strengthen the EU scientific community and enable to undertaking more complex and challenging areas of research for this relevant pathogen. It will also establish a network of European research groups sharing common tools that could help to respond immediately to future challenges to European ecosystems by insect vector-borne plant pathogens.
The main objective is to accomplish researches and innovation actions to improve the prevention, early detection and control of Xylella Fastidiosa under different phytosanitary conditions (EU Implementing Decision 789/2015: “pest-free areas”, “buffer zones” and “infected zones”); and maximize the impacts of the EU research programs by ensuring coordination and integration amongst research groups and networks with long lasting experience and/or involved in ongoing international research programs on Xf.
XF-ACTORS project is based on a multifactorial intervention counteracting Xf threat, covering the whole spectrum of actions from prevention of pathogen entrance in pest-free areas to its successful eradication and containment strategies in infected zones. The key scope of this action is to set up a multi-actor approach, covering all aspects involved in this step-by-step strategy, with a full awareness of environmental, economic and social impacts, concerning any stage of the intervention.
The specific objectives of XF-ACTORS project are to:-
• Strengthen preventive measures by consolidating expertise and awareness of plant health agencies, decision-makers and relevant stakeholders, to build up competences and elaborate effective contingency plans targeting Xf.
• Develop techniques for the early detection of Xf symptoms from the leaf level to the landscape scale through the automated analysis of high-resolution thermal and hyperspectral remote-sensing data.
• Fill the research gaps on the Xf biology, population genetics, and mechanisms of interaction with the host, in order to forecast the potential epidemiological risk associated with the establishment of novel strains in the EU, and determine the major crops and areas under threat.
• Extend the knowledge on the xylem-sap feeder bio-ecology, to identify processes involving Xf vectoring and transmission, as a prerequisite for an integrated vector control in infected zones and a rational risk assessment in Xf free areas.
• Develop new and innovative management strategies and establish an integrated framework of sustainable approaches aiming at minimizing the economic, environmental and social impacts of Xf infections in the EU territory.
• Integrate research data outcomes and predictive modeling to develop pest risk assessment (PRA) tools at a regional scale for prevention and control of Xf spread, and capitalize research information through a dynamic Xf portal.
• Establish a platform for adequate communication and dissemination, to create knowledge and critical awareness about project goals and accomplishments, besides ensuring an effective knowledge transfer among the various actors involved.
Insights about Xylella
Biology, genetics and pathogenicity of XF
Ecology and control of Xf vectors
Surveillance programs : tools for early detection and remote sensing approaches
Eco-epidemiology and risk assessment of Xf disease
Innovative and sustainable strategies for the control of Xylella-induced diseases
Plant health management