The University of Alicante works on a possible cure against the plague that strikes almond trees in the northern regions of the province, the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa.
The research is co-led by the microbiologist and discoverer of the system of CRISPR genetic repair, Francis Mojica, together with the microbiologist Jesús García and Cesar Bordehore, biologist and expert in dynamic systems modeling who also coordinates the Montgó-Dénia Scientific Station.
An agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the Generalitat Valenciana commits financing for four years to develop the project called “Research and implementation of microbiological strategies to combat the growth of Xylella fastidiosa in the Valencian Community”.
The project takes place both in the laboratories on the UA campus and in the Scientific Station in Dénia.
The researchers intend to address a possible solution to this plant disease, based on the use of natural proteins encoded in the Xylella fastidiosa genome itself.
“Although it is in an initial phase, at least at the laboratory level, active molecules have been identified, endosilins, which could be candidates for a future preventive or curative action, similar to the effect of an antibiotic to fight this plague that plagues various countries and different plant species “, explains Cesar Bordehore.
The research that tries to tackle the problem with the almond tree in the province would also affect other species, such as the olive tree, citrus, or the vine in different countries of the world, “so its impact can be significant” in this sector, they point out from the UA.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture on Xylella indicate that during 2017-2019 60 municipalities were located with some infected plant and 2,764 positive samples.
The results of the surveys carried out in 2020 – as of November 16 – indicate 428 positive samples in 17 municipalities of the Marina Alta and Marina Baixa.
“Projects like this reflect an endorsement of Science from the autonomous administration and also from the Dénia City Council, which has supported the Mongó Scientific Station since its creation, in line with what was indicated at the beginning of December by the regional secretary for Employment, Enric Nomdedéu , when he announced that the most negative data on job losses in the Community had occurred in the Marina Alta, as a result of the high weight of the services sector in this region, and from where he called for an effort to promote a change in the production model, “he explains coordinating the ESCIMO.
According to Cesar Bordehore, “without a doubt it will contribute its grain of sand to the long-awaited change in the production model and the improvement of our natural environment and our quality of life.”
The research carried out at the Montgó Scientific Station has been published in various scientific journals and has been presented at various international congresses and has the participation of an extensive network of scientists from different disciplines and institutions, both in Spain and internationally. international.
The Montgó-Dénia- ESCIMO Scientific Station arises from an agreement between the University of Alicante, Dénia City Council and National Parks, with the aim of promoting applied research in Dénia and the Marina Alta, where there is a natural environment (land and sea) privileged.
It is a laboratory dependent on the UA located in the facilities of the former IRYDA house, owned by National Parks.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.