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Aerial scanning can help protect food crops against devastating disease


by Swansea University
Virulent diseases which devastate food crops like coffee, almond, citrus and grapevines with serious global economic and environmental consequences, could be controlled by large-scale aerial scanning, says new collaborative research involving Swansea University.

Each year, plant pathogens causing disease result in an estimated 16% production loss globally—a level that has not significantly reduced over the last 40 years despite increased pesticide use. However, the Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) pathogen is arguably the greatest threat to crops, causing dieback, browning and loss of leaves, reduced fruit size and death and is a threat to at least 550 species worldwide.

The Xf pathogen seriously disrupts agriculture production—in the olive sector alone it has led to losses of up €5.2 billion per year. Outside America and Europe, the spread of this pathogen in Asia and Israel has intensified international calls to contain this global Xf epidemic.

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