World Olive Oil Supplies Threatened by Deadly Plant Bacteria

Olive Trees

September 4, 2019

Xylella fastidiosa, also known as Xylella for short, is the scientific name for what has been called “the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide” by the European Commission. Xylella, thought to originate in Central America has been confirmed in Corsica, the Balearic Islands, southern France, Spain, Portugal and Germany.

With crops and plants across the Mediterranean basin at risk, the bacterium is among the olive oil industry’s top concerns. The magnitude of the threat weighs especially heavy on Spain, the world’s largest olive oil producer and exporter.

Transmission of Xylella is caused by an insect known as the spittlebug.

The olive oil industry employs nearly a third of Spain’s farm workers, directly employing more than 1.3 million people throughout its supply chain.

According to National Geographic scientist and growers in Italy have joined in the fight to prevent the spread of Xylella which causes plants to die of thirst from the inside out.

The race is on to save centuries old olive trees throughout Europe.

(Source: N Business )