Newsweek: Half of World’s Olive Oil Threatened by Deadly Bacteria in Spain

Spain has more than 340 million olive trees, and the world’s largest olive oil producer is especially vulnerable to the deadly plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa. The first case on mainland Spain was confirmed earlier this month. X. fastidiosa is native to the Americas, and its first reported sighting in Europe was in Italy four years ago, killing approximately 1 million olive trees there. Many across Europe “blam[e] Italian authorities for allowing the Italy outbreak to proceed unchecked” to France and now Spain, reports Jessica Wapner for Newsweek. In particular, authorities did not provide sufficient compensation for farmers to uproot their trees as a preventative measure. Prevention is key because “currently there is no cure for the disease caused by the bacteria.” Moreover, the potential damage is not limited to olive trees: “The pathogen can infect an estimated 300 plant types worldwide,” Wapner warns, including almond trees and grapevines. – YaleGlobal

Newsweek: Half of World’s Olive Oil Threatened by Deadly Bacteria in Spain

From Italy to Spain, destructive bacteria from across the ocean are infecting Europe’s olive groves
Jessica Wapner
Monday, July 10, 2017

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Jessica Wapner is a staff science writer at Newsweek. She covers all areas of science, with a particular focus on human health, diseases and social disparities.                      


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