The project BIOVEXO fights the phytopathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which is transmitted by an insect vector and causes olive quick decline syndrome in Spain and Italy. The disease has become a major concern for Mediterranean olive and fruit tree growers, causing immense economic, social and societal problems in addition to envisaged losses of Mediterranean landscape heritage.
The goal of BIOVEXO is the biocontrol of Xylella and its vector in olive trees for integrated pest management (BBI JU 2019). The five-year project is coordinated by the Vienna-based RTDS association, where AIT has the scientific coordination with the expert Stéphane Compant from the Competence Unit Bioresources of the Center for Health & Bioresources.
BIOVEXO started on 1 May 2020 and was launched with a virtual kick-off event on 12/13 May 2020. With eleven partners from academia, industry and the farming sector, BIOVEXO is set at demonstration scale close to the market. The Project is among 22 new projects selected for funding by a BBI JU grant under the 2019 Call for proposals. The project has a budget of 6.6 Mio EUR to fight the phytopathogenic Xylella fastidiosa bacterium.
The projects develops two types of environmentally sustainable and economically viable biopesticide solutions, which in combination may target both the Xylella phytopathogen and the insect vector transmitting the disease. BIOVEXO will subject its new biopesticides to rigorous large-scale field testing in Apulia, Mallorca and mainland Spain and will ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements to make them available for ready use in integrated pest management.