Global risk predictions for Pierce’s disease of grapevines

Giménez-Romero, Àlex; Galván, Javier; Montesinos, Marina; Bauzà, Joan; Godefroid, Martin; Fereres, Alberto; Ramasco, José J.; Matías, Manuel A.; Moralejo, Eduardo
Submitted (2022)

The clonal lineage of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa responsible for Pierce’s disease (PD) poses a threat to viticulture worldwide. Although this vector-transmitted disease has remained mainly restricted to the United States, recent introductions on the islands of Majorca (Spain) and Taiwan have raised concerns about the risk of spreading worldwide. To assess this risk, here we build a climate-driven epidemiological model that simulates the annual reintroduction of infected plants, assuming a local disease propagation if conditions become favorable, and with Europe as a case study based on the distribution of the main vector, Philaenus spumarius. Our model simulation reveals that most wine-quality producing areas in China, Europe, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Australia currently thrive in non-risk or transient-risk zones, and to a lesser extent in epidemic-risk zones with low to moderate risk indices. The European case shows how models assuming a vector heterogeneous distribution yield lesser extended epidemic-risk zones than previous risk maps. Overall, a global expansion of PD epidemic-risk zones is projected for 2050, although with low increase in risk indices. Our study highlights the importance of considering climate variability and an invasive criterion to obtain precise risk maps for plant health decision-making.

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