Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS-CSIC)

The main aim of IAS-CSIC group is to increase yield efficiency of agricultural systems in Mediterranean environments by using integrated management strategies of quarantine and native pathogens avoiding the environmental damages and economic losses that they cause. The IAS team has more than 25 years of experience in research on vascular plant pathogens, such as the soilborne fungus Verticillium dahliae and the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa.

The IAS team has contributed to a significant progress on the ecology, diagnosis and epidemiology of X. fastidiosa. Specifically has contributed to:

1 – The development of procedures and diagnostic tools for the specific identification of X. fastidiosa subspecies and STs
2 – Provided insights into the evolutionary emergence and possible origins of X. fastidiosa outbreaks in Spain
3 – Genome-wide analyses of European strains of X. fastidiosa
4 – knowledge on the host range of X. fastidiosa strains from the Spanish outbreaks
5 – The development of epidemiological models and risk assessment of the disease in the EU
6 – The identification of spectral plant-traits alterations as pre-visual indicators of X. fastidiosa infection
7 – Characterization and isolation of olive xylem microbiome, identifying its determining and modifying factors

Other Participants:

  • María Pilar Velasco Amo, IAS-CSIC
  • Manuel Anguita Maeso, IAS-CSIC
  • Beatriz Jorrín Rubio, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, UK

Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias

The IVIA team has more than 20 years of experience in diagnosis and detection of phytopathogenic bacteria and development of management practises of plant pathogens. In the last ten years, the team has been involved in seven research projects with specific detection or control objectives, five of them on three of the most important plant pathogenic bacteria worldwide: Xylella fastidiosa, Erwinia amylovora and HLB-associated bacteria.

More than 20 articles in JRC journals during this period deal with the development of techniques for the detection of plant pathogenic bacteria and associated difficulties from environmental samples. In addition, the fact that the IVIA Bacteriology lab is the National Reference Laboratory for Phytopathogenic Bacteria of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture means that this research team has a broad vision of phytopathological diagnosis, and that its experience is wide and robust.

In fact, IVIA team’s contributions are not only to the diagnosis but also to the biology of phytopathogenic bacteria, to the clarification of the life cycle of some of them and to various aspects of the epidemiology of the diseases they cause.

Regarding X. fastidiosa research, since the first outbreak in Spain in 2016, the IVIA team has been involved in the advancement of the knowledge of different aspects of detection, diagnostic and epidemiology of this plant pathogenic bacterium. IVIA team has established a collaboration with The Environmental and Biomedical Virology (EBV) group from Universitat de València-I2SysBio, as experts in the use of viruses against pathogenic bacteria, to develop a program for selection of bacteriophages with activity against X. fastidiosa, with initial results very promising.

Other Participants:

  • María Luisa Domingo Calap, Tragsa-IVIA
  • Miriam Simó Esquivel, Tragsa-IVIA
  • Mireia Bernabéu Gimeno, Universitat de València-CSIC
  • Amanda García Martínez, Universitat de València-CSIC

University of Girona (UdG) Plant Pathology (CIDSAV-UdG)

The Plant Pathology group (link: has focused its research in the last twenty years on the epidemiology and control of a range of relevant bacterial patho-systems in agriculture.

Examples are fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora, bacterial spot caused by Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni, and Xylella fastidiosa, as well as in other plant pathogenic bacteria like P. syringae pv. actinidiae, and Xanthomonas fragariae.

Recently we participate in project on huanglongbing of citrus. In addition to biological control with antagonistic bacterial strains (e.g. Pantoea agglomerans, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Bacillus velezensis and amyloliquefaciens, Streptomyces melanosporofaciens) the group has developed new antimicrobial and bactericidal peptides, as well as defence elicitor peptides of the plant hosts (e.g. almond, peach, pear), both synthetic or from microbial origin.

In particular, in the last six years, the UdG group has significant contributions to the field of epidemiology and control of Xylella fastidiosa. More specifically to develop functional peptides (lytic, antibiofilm and defence elicitors), set-up a viability qPCR for monitoring X. fastidiosa in planta, build-up an in planta platform using microinjection for evaluating strain virulence and efficacy of control of chemical compounds, and characterize the aggressiveness and host range of Spanish isolates.

Other Participants:

  • Lluís Moll dos Santos. PhD student. University of Girona.
  • Pau Caravaca. PhD student. University of Girona.