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Pierce's disease identified in European vineyards

Par Vitisphere Le 08 novembre 2017
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Pierce's disease identified in European vineyards
- crédit photo : DR

he bombshell announcement was made on October 25 at the annual French nurseries conference in Carcassonne: “In Majorca, around thirty bearing vines for wine and table grape production have been contaminated by Xyllela fastidiosa, sub-species fastidiosa”, announced Jacques Grosman, the viticultural expert appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The polyphage bacteria are responsible for Pierce’s disease that has wrought havoc in the vineyards of California. A total 321 plants tested positive across the island of Majorca on species ranging from cistus monspeliensis to prunus domestica, and now vitis vinifera.

Conducted in May, this first viticultural identification of Xyllela fastidiosa comes as no surprise – it was expected to spread to vineyards after spending years in a variety of shrubs. The quarantine bacteria were initially found in olive trees in Apulia in 2013 (Xyllela fastidiosa, subspecies pauca) then in myrtle-leaf milkwort in Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur and Corsica in 2015 (Xyllela fastidiosa multiplex) and finally in oleander in Germany and acacias in Spain in 2016 (Xyllela fastidiosa fastidiosa).

A serious threat

We are even more concerned now that vines contaminated by the bacteria responsible for Pierce’s disease have been found… This is a real scourge and could become the phylloxera of the third millennium”, commented David Amblevert, chairman of the French nurseries federation. “Imported plant material must be subjected to health checks by the French authorities, the danger is on our doorstep. As for nurseries, we must become familiar with the symptoms in order to recognise them”. 

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