International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa

​​Xylella fastidiosa is a pest of worldwide significance and has been identified as Australia’s number one National Priority Plant Pest. These plant pests and diseases are not present or established in Australia but pose a major threat to our agricultural and food production industries.

In May 2017, the department hosted an International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa in Brisbane, Australia. The symposium was highly successful with 102 international delegates and speakers coming together over two days to share their experience and knowledge on how Australia can better prepare for the disease, and how Xylella incursions are managed overseas.

The symposium was funded by the department under the Stronger Biosecurity and Quarantine Initiative and the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to support national plant preparedness, surveillance and analysis.

Symposium themes

The International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa covered four themes through 17 presentations:

  • Xylella and its vectors
  • This theme provided an overview on the epidemiology, biology, and genetics of Xylella subspecies. This included the complex associations of the pathogen with its hosts and vectors as modified by climate, particularly temperature and rain, and environmental factors including irrigation, proximity of reservoir species, and phytosanitary measures.
  • Diagnostics and surveillance
  • Speakers from overseas shared their knowledge on the practices their countries and regions use where the pathogen is present. They also spoke about the diagnostic capabilities they are developing to prepare for a potential incursion.
  • Management and control
  • The speakers in this theme discussed the challenges of controlling and managing Xylella and its vectors from a practical and policy perspective. They also spoke about the disease’s impacts on industry and communities, and research being done to address these challenges.
  • Research and collaboration
  • The presentations under this theme covered the research development and extension programs underway in California, and now in Italy following their recent Xylella outbreak. The symposium also presented an opportunity for collaboration on these programs across Australia and internationally.

Symposium outcomes

​A report on the symposium has been published by the department. The report also provides key scientific information underpinning Xylella preparedness activities, its subspecies and genetic strains, and the management of the pathogen and its insect vectors overseas. The report also summarises the key learnings that emerged during the moderated conversations with participants, and from the diagnostics and surveillance workshop that was held as part of the symposium.

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See presentations from the symposium

If you missed attending the symposium, you can now watch the following presentations online on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources YouTube channel.

International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources playlist

1. Ecology of Xylella fastidiosa; the basis for its prevention and control, Professor Emeritus Alexander Purcell

2. Xylella fastidiosa diversity, Professor Rodrigo Almeida

3. Xylella fastidiosa, an emerging plant pathogen in Europe that threatens agriculture, Dr Marie-Agnès Jacques

4. Leaf scorch diseases of grape and pear in Taiwan, Associate Professor Wen-Ling Deng

5. Xylella fastidiosa in the outbreak area of Italy: present situation of the infection and innovative tools for early surveillance, Dr Anna Maria D’Onghia

6. Diagnostic preparedness for a Xylella invasion: A New Zealand perspective, Mr Robert Taylor

7. Invasion pathways of the glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis) across the Pacific Ocean and activities for the spread of biological control agents, Dr Leigh Pilkington

8. Re-emergence of Xylella fastidiosa: The ongoing epidemics in southern Italy and European Union measures, Dr Donato Boscia

9. Management of Xylella diseases in California, Dr Jim Farrar

10. The Glassy-winged Sharpshooter and Pierce’s Disease (Xylella fastidiosa) in California – state-wide activities and the area-wide management of the vector and disease, Ms Beth Stone-Smith

11. Potential economic impacts of Xylella fastidiosa on the Australian wine grape and wine industries, Dr Tony Arthur

12. Collaborative research and extension programs to address Xylella diseases in California, Dr Jim Farrar

13. Research activities and research gaps in the European Union, Dr Donato Boscia

14. Research co-ordination as an answer to global plant health threats: the case of Xylella fastidiosa, Dr Baldissera Giovani

15. Towards preparedness of Australian Industries – activities, coordination, challenges, Dr Peter Whittle

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