Agriculture knowledge

Bacteria – a Threat to Olive Oil Production

Olive trees devastatingly hit by a bacteria threatening the production of Italian olive oil

A hostile bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa, seen for the first time in Europe, destroys olive trees threatening the production of Italian olive oil. This pathogen was first discovered in the Americas and has already infected 800,000 trees in Puglia alone.


Many of the oldest specimens of olive trees in Italy, some 500 years old, are hit by this bacterium. It causes extensive damage to centuries-old trees in Puglia, which produces 11m tones of olives per year, more than a third of Italy’s total olive tree crop, and also offers few of Italy’s best

olive oils. 


The threat to olive trees hit by this microbe in Italy may lead to a major decline in the production of olive oil and can cause prices to soar prices in Britain and worldwide.

The symptoms of the bacteria, include drying out of plants, leaving shriveled stumps that cannot bear fruit.

This epidemic has hit producers hard. It has already cost producers 331 million USD, a figure which is expected to rise.

Italian officials have asked the assistance of experts from the University of California, Berkeley, to help them contain this devastating outbreak.

Otherwise, according the Angelo Corsetti, a spokesman for Coldiretti, the national agricultural organization, many growers would be forced to destroy a multitude of trees in the worst-afflicted areas when an emergency decree is enforced in the coming week.


Via Mail Online, published on August 15, 2014. Click here for the original article.

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