Nav: Home

Eye-in-the-sky to save olive trees

June 25, 2018

A new airborne remote-imaging method that scans entire orchards can identify olive trees infected by a devastating bacterium before visible symptoms appear, according to new research.

The scanning, which can be deployed using planes or drones, may help control the spread of infection and save southern Europe's iconic tree.

Xylella fastidiosa is a devastating bacterium, transmitted by common sap-feeding insects, which causes disease in over 350 plant species. Olive trees are especially vulnerable, with the bacteria causing branches and twigs to wither, and leaves to appear scorched.

Common in the Americas but only recently discovered in Europe, Xylella is spreading around the Mediterranean, with many orchards already destroyed in Italy's olive-oil-producing Apulia region. As there is no cure, the only way to stop the disease's progress is to cull infected trees, with earlier diagnoses being the key to more effective containment.

Pablo Zarco-Tejada of the European Commission, together with experts from Swansea University and other European institutions, used special cameras, fitted aboard a small plane, to perform both hyperspectral (looking across the entire electromagnetic range) and thermal image analyses of orchards. The authors then tested olive trees on the ground for Xylella infection.

Professor Peter North, from the Department of Geography at Swansea University, one of the authors of the research, said: "Our study found that the effects of the bacterial infection can be remotely detected before any visible symptoms appear, allowing for rapid and accurate mapping of Xylella-infected olive trees across target orchards".

Dr Rocio Hernandez-Clemente, a geographer and member of the research team from Swansea University, added: "The spread of plant diseases is predicted to become an increasing problem with climate change, including for the UK. International cooperation is essential for early detection, to control damage and prevent spread. This study demonstrates the possibility of detection of symptoms at an early stage, and may be adapted to drones and aircraft for widespread use".
-end-
The paper 'Previsual symptoms of Xylella fastidiosa infection revealed in spectral plant-trait alterations' is available on Nature Plants' website.

Swansea University

Related Infection Articles:

Male infertility: Urogenital infection as a possible cause
In couples who have not been able to have children, male infertility is the cause in at least half of cases.
A novel approach to seeing dengue infection in the body
Positron emission tomography (PET) paired with the glucose metabolism probe, fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is considered 'old' technology in the field of cancer.
Smelling the risk of infection
Humans and monkeys are social beings and benefit from a community.
Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection
The HIV virus increases the potency of the tuberculosis bacterium (Mtb) by affecting a central function of the immune system.
New insight into course and transmission of Zika infection
In one of the first and largest studies of its kind, a research team lead by virologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has characterized the progression of two strains of the viral infection.
UTMB researchers protect against lethal Ebola Sudan infection four days after infection
Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, in collaboration with Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, have protected nonhuman primates against Ebola Sudan four days following exposure to the virus.
How tumor necrosis factor protects against infection
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a messenger substance in the immune system, plays an important role in triggering chronic inflammatory diseases.
Gene amplification -- the fast track to infection
Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden are first to discover that bacteria can multiply disease-inducing genes which are needed to rapidly cause infection.
New test allows for one-step diagnosis of HCV infection
The current standard in diagnosing Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection requires two sequential steps that make it suboptimal, costly, inconvenient, time consuming, and globally not widely available or affordable.
Do dressings prevent infection?
There is insufficient evidence to know whether dressings reduce the risk of wound infection after surgery and, in some cases, leaving a wound exposed may be better, say researchers in The BMJ today.

Related Infection Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.