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XAPFREE Task Force: Integral and sustainable control of bacterial spot to minimise the economic and environmental impact on almond and peach trees.

Starting date: 01/09/2022 End date: 30/09/2024
Programme: Sustainable Plant Protection Pressupost: 215.604,00 €

Financing entities:

Project funded through Operation 16.01.01 (Cooperation for innovation) through the Rural Development Programme of Catalonia 2014-2022.

Bacterial spot is a disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas arboricola pv. Pruni, which is currently widespread throughout the world. This disease affects all fruit trees of the Prunus genus, but especially almond and peach trees. It can cause important losses not only because the affected fruits have no commercial value but also because it can cause severe defoliation that weakens the tree and progressively decreases its productivity. Specifically, in Spain, the disease is widespread and far from being effectively controlled, clearly jeopardising the economic viability of almond and peach tree cultivation. In this sense, in Spain, losses of around 50% of the production are estimated. In this context, it is necessary to find alternatives that provide effective control of bacterial spot in order to bring this disease under control and give stability to the sector.

The main objective of this project is to improve the efficiency of bacterial spot control in almond and peach trees, thus reducing dependence on phytosanitary products. The specific objectives of the project are listed below:

To evaluate and define a phytosanitary control strategy based on copper compounds, biological products and plant defence inducers.
Define different management strategies aimed at plot sanitation to reduce disease pressure on farms with a high incidence of bacterial spot.
Validate, evaluate and implement a bacterial spot risk prediction model to reduce the number of fungicide treatments and improve their positioning.
Determine the varietal sensitivity of commercial varieties and varieties under development in order to define a recommendation by risk zones.
Define a comprehensive control strategy for bacterial spot with high efficacy and a reduction of phytosanitary treatments.
To transfer the most outstanding results to the sector in order to promote their implementation.

The secondary objectives of the project are to rationalise the use of phytosanitary products, to prioritise defence methods with low environmental impact, to reduce the level of residues in the fruit and, finally, to encourage cooperation for innovation between the production sector and research.