Xylella threat reviewed

31 October 2019

Xylella fastidiosa, an insect spread bacterial pathogen, is currently having devasting impact across horticultural industries in both Europe and the USA. This pathogen can infect many different plants, both natives and important crops, but we did not know the full scale of potential damage if it got into New Zealand. The Xylella Action Group (XAG) of which KVH is a member, was assembled with the purpose to collaborate and improve New Zealand’s readiness should Xylella fastidiosa be detected on our shores.

Through the Zespri Innovation funding we contributed, alongside other potentially impacted industries and stakeholders, towards a literature review to better understand the impacts of an incursion to New Zealand. While the report highlighted that Xylella fastidiosa has an incredibly wide host range comprising more than 350 species, the good news is that there are no reports of it affecting kiwifruit. You can read the full report online here.

While kiwifruit is currently not considered a host, there is still much uncertainty, particularly around our vector status, and thus our future potential host status. Therefore, KVH will continue to remain part of the XAG and contribute towards advancing our readiness efforts for Xylella.