Xylella investigations continue into Polygala myrtifolia imported into Czech Republic from Spain

The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) has revealed details behind the latest suspected presence of Xylella fastidiosa, after a single infected Polygala myrtifolia plant was imported into the Czech Republic.

The National Plant Protection Organisation of the Czech Republic recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of a suspected detection of Xylella fastidiosa in a single plant of Polygala myrtifolia in a private house in the village of Husinec.

In February 2017, the NPPO of Spain informed the NPPO of the Czech Republic that 56 plants of P. myrtifolia had been bought by a Czech company in May 2016 from two nurseries in Andalucia where suspicions of X. fastidiosa were being investigated.

Results of these investigations concluded that the bacterium was not present in these two nurseries. However, one P. myrtifolia plant in poor health condition could be traced forward in the Czech Republic and located in the village of Husinec. The owner of this plant informed the Czech NPPO that it had been kept, after its delivery, inside the house for the rest of the 2016 season, and later moved into a winter garden.

The plant was extensively damaged, most probably by frost during its stay in the winter garden, and thus was not eligible for immediate testing. The plant was kept in quarantine conditions in the official laboratory for possible recovery. After more than two weeks, a slight regeneration was observed and samples could be taken from young and old shoots with leaves, and from xylem tissues taken from the base of the plant and roots.

Two screening methods based on ELISA and PCR were used and gave positive results for X. fastidiosa. One of the positive PCR results has already been confirmed by sequencing (as of 10 March 2017). For other positive samples, sequencing is ongoing. The decision as to whether official phytosanitary measures should be taken is pending the final conclusions of the laboratory analysis.


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