In the olive-rich region of Apulia, Italy, a relentless pathogenic bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, has been wreaking havoc on olive trees since 2013, causing widespread concern among farmers and environmentalists. Traditional containment methods have shown limited success in curtailing its spread.
However, a recent breakthrough study now offers new hope in the form of innovative endotherapeutic treatments. Endotherapy is an efficient way to deliver agrochemicals, growth regulators, defense activators, plant biostimulant and fertilisers in many tree species and offers some advantages to other systems (i.e foliar applications). Researchers chose this application method to give bioactive compounds in an environmental way to control bacteria, fungi and insects.
Xylella fastidiosa, responsible for the dreaded Olive Quick Decline Syndrome, has not only threatened olive production but has also impacted the region’s economy, culture, landscape, and biodiversity. In response to this crisis, researchers at the CREA Research Centre for Olive, Fruit and Citrus Crops in Rende, Italy have been exploring alternative strategies to counteract the bacterium’s devastating effects.
This groundbreaking study employs a multi-faceted approach, testing the efficacy of three distinct treatments:-
- Phenolic Extract from Olive Leaves: This treatment involves the injection of phenolic compounds derived from fresh olive leaves into infected trees. The aim was to determine whether these compounds could combat the bacterium and promote tree health.
- Garlic-Powder-Based Solution: Another treatment under examination was a solution based on garlic powder, known for its antibacterial properties to determine whether they may be any effectiveness against Xylella fastidiosa.
- Potassium Phosphite: Potassium phosphite, with its reputation as a plant growth booster, was also included in the study to assess its potential as a bacterium control and tree recovery agent.
The in-depth study, conducted over two years in naturally infected olive trees in Apulia, yielded several noteworthy findings. More