Skip to main content

An Incurable Disease Is Threatening European Olive Trees

fort lauderdale personal chef

'Olive tree leprosy' could have a catastrophic effect on the future of olives in Greece, Italy, and Spain.

By Jelisa Castrodale 
May 08, 2020

Because the agricultural industry in parts of Europe hasn't had enough challenges to contend with lately, an incurable bacterium called xylella fastidiosa is again threatening to kill hundreds of thousands of olive trees in ItalySpain, and parts of Greece. And according to some researchers, if the disease continues to spread throughout olive groves, it could cause €20 billion-plus in lost revenue in those three countries in the next 50 years.

Xylella fastidiosa was first detected in Italy seven years ago, and an estimated one million trees have already died from its effects. According to plant virologist Maria Saponari, it probably came into the country on ornamental coffee plants. "This pathogen likes a warm environment," she told NPR. "And so, unfortunately, it found a very suitable condition to establish here."

The disease, which is also called 'olive tree leprosy,' slowly chokes off a tree's water supply. At first, the effects are limited to fewer olives and fruit of poorer quality, before it ultimately clogs up the xylem, the tree's root-to-stem water-transport system. Xylella fastidiosa is spread throughout olive groves by insects that feed on the trees' sap. like the descriptively named spittlebug.

According to an article that was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands tried to project the economic impact of the future spread of xylella fastidiosa. The team focused their efforts on Italy, Greece, and Spain, because those three countries are responsible for 95 percent of Europe's total olive oil production.

In Italy, if the absolute worst-case scenario happens—all olive production ceases because the orchards have died off—the 50-year economic impact could be between €1.9 billion and €5.2 billion. (For Greece, the losses could hit €2 billion, while Spain could lose an eye-watering €17 billion). But those numbers could be dramatically reduced if the rates of Xylella infection can be slowed down, or if more resistant varieties of olive trees can be planted, or in mitigation efforts that combine both methods.

But replanting entire olive groves—or having to uproot thousands of trees—comes with its own cost. "You really hear devastating stories of infected orchards that were inherited over generations," lead author Kevin Schneider from Wageningen University in the Netherlands said. "It's the same orchard that their grandparents were once working on. So how do you put an economic number on the loss of something like this? The cultural heritage value would be far larger than we could compute."

According to The Guardian, Italian authorities in Puglia have taken serious measures to combat the spread of the disease. Since 2015, if an olive tree is discovered to have xylella fastidiosa, any tree within 100 meters of it has to be removed, regardless of whether the other trees have been affected or not.

Researchers with the country's Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis (CREA) are also experimenting with ways to eradicate the bacteria from previously infected areas by using a patented "compound based on zinc, copper, and citric acid" and with preventative pruning measures that remove weeds and plants where spittlebugs can live.

Those efforts—and others like them—will most likely have to continue, in order for these orchards to have a chance of surviving the next several decades.

private chefs and event catering
Miami + Miami Beach + Fort Lauderdale + Palm Beach | 954-367-YADA (9232)
fort lauderdale catering and personal chefs

Popular posts from this blog

16 Best Benefits Of Corn (Bhutta) For Skin, Hair And Health

Corn, also known as maize or our good old ( Bhutta/Makkai/Challi ) in Hindi, ‘ Mokka Jonnalu ‘ in Telugu, ‘ Makkacholam ‘ in Tamil, ‘ Cholam ‘ in Malayalam, ‘ Musukina Jol a’ in Kannada, ‘ Makkai ‘ in Gujarati, ‘ Makai ‘ in Marathi and Punjabi and ‘ Butta ‘ in Bengali. Corn is a large grain plant which is said to have originated in Mexico and Central America. Though viewed as a vegetable, it is actually a food grain. The leafy stalk of the plant produces ears, which contain the grains known as kernels. For every kernel on the cob, there is a strand of silk. The white and yellow kernels are most popular, but today, corn is available in red, brown, blue and purple also. The white and yellow hybrids are known as butter and sugar corn which contain both kinds of kernels. This cereal is known for its pleasant taste and its versatility. Baby corn is available in cans or jars in the supermarkets and is used in Asian cooking. This grain is generally available in summer and can be

The History of Aluminum Foil: Just Don't Call it Tin Foil

Gerard Paul  September 11th, 2020  Cookware ,   Grilling & Outdoors   Aluminum foil – sometimes incorrectly called  tin foil  – is a thin, prepared sheet metal made of aluminum, often used in cooking (and food storage!). Although it may seem a little  dull  at first glance (especially on its dull side), aluminum foil has quite a fascinating story behind it. Many incredible things occurred before it became a staple in the modern kitchen. In this post, I'll discuss the various events that led to the aluminum foil revolution, and highlight the continued importance of this seemingly mundane material in our lives.  Aluminum Foil What Is Aluminum Foil? Aluminum foil is a thin sheet of  metal foil  or  metal leaf  composed of an  aluminum alloy  containing roughly 92–99 percent aluminum. It usually has a thickness between 0.0002 to 0.006 inches, but its width and strength vary greatly based on the intended application.  Just some of those applications include: Manufacturing thermal in

Strawberry Cream Pie {Easy & No-Bake} Recipe

  This Strawberry Cream Pie. Full of fresh strawberries and cream cheese, it gets an additional boost of flavor from instant pudding mix! Serve this at your next get-together, and watch it disappear! Strawberry Cream Pie 1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust (pre made is okay) 1 container (16 oz.) fresh (or frozen) strawberries, washed and hulled 4 tbsp. sugar 4 oz. (half of an 8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) vanilla flavor instant pudding mix 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) strawberry creme instant pudding mix 2 cups whipped cream or whipped topping, divided Additional sliced strawberries for garnish Place the 16 oz. of fresh strawberries in a food processor with the sugar. Cover and pulse a few times until the berries are finely chopped. Add the cream cheese and pulse until blended. You may need to scrape down the sides. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add both of the dry instant pudding mixes to the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in 1½ cups of the C