The following research project has recently been carried out in the framework of Euphresco (network for phytosanitary research coordination and funding - hosted by EPPO). A report presenting the main objectives and results of this project, as well as recommendations made can be viewed on the Internet.

Xylella fastidiosa and its insect vectors
Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial pathogen transmitted by insect vectors. While the vectors of the disease are relatively well known in South and North America, knowledge about its potential vectors in the EPPO region has to be improved. The project covered several activities, including the survey of potential vectors of X. fastidiosa within different habitats, the evaluation of sampling/trapping methods for vectors, the development/improvement of diagnostic tests (i.e. real-time PCR, LAMP) for the identification of the vectors and of the bacterium within vectors.

Based on the evaluation of trapping methods, the consortium recommended the use of sweep netting as the best method for catching significant numbers of vectors. Other trapping methods, such as sticky traps, appeared to be more suitable for monitoring the presence of vectors within agricultural and horticultural environments, rather than collecting vectors to screen for X. fastidiosa.

A species-specific real-time PCR test was developed for the identification of Philaenus spumarius. The test has been included in the EPPO Diagnostic Protocol PM 7/141 Philaenus spumarius, Philaenus italosignus and Neophilaenus campestris. Work is ongoing for the development and validation of a diagnostic test for Neophilaenus campestris. International collaboration on this topic would facilitate sharing of reference material to ensure that the test has optimal inclusivity. 

Based on the results obtained, the CTAB DNA extraction protocol was found to be the most suitable for the obtention of high concentration of X. fastidiosa genomic DNA from vectors. Overall, the real-time PCR and LAMP tests have proved to be more efficient than conventional PCR at detecting X. fastidiosa in insect vectors, independently from the extraction method used, and are thus recommended.

Duration of the project: 2017-12-31 to 2019-12-31.

Authors: Lester, Katherine; Highet, Fiona; Gottsberger, Richard; Strauss, Gudrun; Reisenzein, Helga; Maixner, Michael; Elbeaino, Toufic; Valentini, Franco. D’Onghia, Anna Maria; Loomans, Antoon, Bergsma-Vlami, Maria; Sa Pereira, Paula; Mateus, Celia; Malumphy, Chris; Landa, Blanca; Miranda, Miguel; Paredes, Claudia.


Source: EPPO