University of Catania
Follow us


Risk assessment of introduction of xanthomonas citri subsp citri through commercial trade of ornamental rutaceous plants in the Mediterranean basin
logo del progetto orpramed
international research
Other UE programmes
ERA-NET ARIMNET 2 - Call 2015
Main ERC field: 
Life Sciences
Unict role: 
Duration (months): 
Start date: 
Monday, February 1, 2016
End date: 
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Total cost: 
€ 255.000,00
Unict cost: 
€ 65.700,00
Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CREA) - Centro di ricerca olivicoltura, frutticoltura e agrumicoltura, Italy
Principal investigator in Unict: 
Vittoria Catara
University department involved: 
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (Spain), Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, France, Biological Control Research Station, Turkey, Cukurova University - Plant Protection Department - Agriculture Faculty, Turkey


Citrus crops in the Mediterranean region are currently threatened by several plant pathogens. The most important risk factor for the introduction of new pathogens is the importation of infected yet symptomless plant material and plant pathogen vectors.

The European “Plant Health Directive” (2000/29CE) and following amendments lists the requirements for the introduction into the EU of citrus plants, including fruits, which could be a pathway for the entry of citrus pests. Among those pests listed as quarantine organisms Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc) or X. fuscans subsp. aurantifolii (Xfa), not known to occur in the European community and entire Mediterranean region, are causal agents of Citrus Bacterial Canker (CBC) a devastating disease that severely affect citrus plants and fruits being non commercial or dropped prematurely. In case of introduction, CBC control would be problematic since some treatments used for CBC control are not allowed in most of the Mediterranean Countries and those usually used, such copper compounds, are going to be reduced in the EU in the next future. Two of the seven CBC causing bacteria entry pathways highlighted by EFSA are ornamental rutaceous plants through both the commercial trade and passenger pathways, respectively.

Rutaceous ornamental species are extensively grown in Mediterranean countries, in nurseries, orchards but also private gardens or public avenues or squares. The rutaceous relatives plants, particularly those not covered by the 2000/29EC directive, represent a threat of the introduction of this pathogen in the Mediterranean basin both by the introduction of infected plants and planting material through official routes and via passenger traffic and/or illegal traffic.

ORPRAMed (Ornamental rutaceous plants risk assessment in Mediterranean) aims to risk evaluation of the introduction of Xcc in the Mediterranean region by means of ornamental rutaceous species, by generating and improve our understanding of the interactions between Xc and ornamentals. Such data would help facing an introduction of the pathogen in the Mediterranean region.

ORPRAMed is divided in four scientific work-packages; WP1- Economics and trade of ornamental rutaceaous plants in the Mediterranean region; WP2- Evaluation of rutaceous ornamental plants for difference in susceptibility and to Xcc; WP3-Mechanisms of epiphytic and endophytic colonization of Xcc in ornamental plants and survival of the bacterial populations after long distance shipment; WP4-Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the resistant/susceptible phenotypes.

ORPRAMed aims at increasing the current knowledge on the proposed topic providing new data on the susceptibility of many ornamental rutaceous species to CBC, acquiring new about ornamental rutaceous relatives genomes not yet available. The added-value of the project consists also to promote collaboration between local Plant protection services and nurseries with research institutions and to blend join different European research teams in order to provide a multidisciplinary approach