FEATURED INFORMATION

Integrated Pest Management in Italy

Stefano Scalercio, Nino Iannotta

Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture CRA. - Olive Growing and Oil Industry Research Center, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy

Appropriate and rational plant protection should be seen as one of the most important practices to produce competitive crops and protect the environment. Therefore, olive tree protection should entail identifying and implementing pest control techniques that are highly eco-compatible and lead to high production quality. Such techniques include all so-called 'alternative' methods to chemical treatment used to control phytophagous and phytopathogenic organisms, in addition to agrochemicals when necessary. The aim, then, is to integrate all of the available techniques with a view to containing damage, protecting the environment and reducing toxicological risk while securing the best economic conditions for the olive grower.

Appropriate and rational plant protection should be seen as one of the most important practices to produce competitive crops and protect the environment. Therefore, olive tree protection should entail identifying and implementing pest control techniques that are highly eco-compatible and lead to high production quality. Such techniques include all so-called 'alternative' methods to chemical treatment used to control phytophagous and phytopathogenic organisms, in addition to agrochemicals when necessary. The aim, then, is to integrate all of the available techniques with a view to containing damage, protecting the environment and reducing toxicological risk while securing the best economic conditions for the olive grower. To reconcile these needs, every region needs to implement a system to acquire more knowledge in order to analyze and interpret the agri-environmental complexity of olive oil production. Control methods can then use context-appropriate technology for each regional agricultural system. The data gathering systems are called LIS (Land Information System), and are linked to a Geographical Information System (GIS) for processing. Protection techniques must be tailored to promoting environmental stability through greater knowledge of soil-plant-environment-animal interactions, to contribute to the overall sustainability of olive production. These innovative protection techniques must then be correlated with the quality of the oil produced, taking into account all fundamental dimensions of quality such as safety (toxicological risk reduction), sensory aspects, marketing standards, and health and nutrition. Phytophagous insects are the pests that cause most damage to olive oil production. The most dangerous and harmful parasite is the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae). Other phytophagous insects are deemed to be of secondary importance, and only specifically targeted where they cause significant damage. A range of techniques can be used to combat these harmful organisms. The olive grower should select the most appropriate technique according to the intended product type (olive oil or table olives, integrated production or organic production) and according to the action threshold, with or without the use of chemical pesticides. Alternatives to agrochemicals must be used to control the olive fruit fly in organic production, but they are also vital in conventional production even though agrochemical methods can also be used in this case. The first approach is agronomic and focuses on harvest optimization (often involving an early harvest, to avoid autumn attacks) and on genotype susceptibility. Italy's sizeable olive tree germplasm base reveals that different cultivars have varying degrees of susceptibility to parasites. This is due to the amount of oleuropein in the fruit, which gives rise to phenolic compounds (tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, aglycones and others) that are responsible for the plant's response to attack. The olive skin colour turning process is also significant to susceptibility: when the concentration of cyanidin is higher, female flies do not recognize the colour-turned olives as suitable for egg laying, or at least do not prefer them over the green fruits. The second protection approach is biological control: the release of insect parasites in the field. In Italy, parasitoid organisms such as Psyttalia concolor are bred in special biofactories and introduced into ecosystems to control fly infestations. Microbiological control (with Beauveria bassiana) has not yielded positive results. The third non-pesticide protection approach includes mass trapping (attract-and-kill) and use of repellents (kaolin). Antibacterial substances (copper and propolis) have been found to be effective in Tuscany. Olive tree diseases are influenced by favourable climatic conditions, severe nutritional imbalances, pollution stress, or the pathogenic activity of bacteria, fungi and viruses. In Italy, olive plant pathology is relatively straightforward. Four fungal agents (Spilocaea oleagina, Verticillium dahliae, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, and Mycocentrospora cladosporioides) can cause significant economic damage, and all are controlled with copper-based fungicides. In the Italian region of Puglia, the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa, which can kill adult plants, recently caused significant damage. Looking to the future, olive plant protection needs to use more environment-friendly methods and seek higher-quality production. It is particularly important to take note of current climate change studies, which indicate that there may be a significant impact on the biology of parasites and on interactions within the olive-tree ecosystem as a whole, with all of the consequences this may entail.

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In accordance with the Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data 15/1999, of 13 December, Promotora de Exportaciones Catalanas SA (hereinafter PRODECA), whose address is Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 620, principal, 08007 Barcelona, with tax reg. no. NIF A58241316, declares that the images contained on the website www.smartfruitcongress.cat are included in a file belonging to PRODECA. The purpose of this file is the promotion, via its website, of the activities conducted by PRODECA – SmartfFruit IPM International Congress.

PRODECA guarantees that you may, at any time, exercise your right to access, rectify, cancel or oppose by writing to the aforesaid postal address, using the reference "PROTECCIÓN DE DATOS - SMARTFRUIT", or to the email address smartfruitcongress@smartfruitcongress.cat.

Specifically, to correctly exercise these rights you must clearly provide the following items in that communication:
- Name, surname(s) and photocopy of National Identity Document or Passport.
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PRODECA also declares that it reserves the right to delete from its website any content that it considers violates current and applicable legislation.

D’acord amb l’article 17.1 de la Llei 19/2014, la ©Generalitat de Catalunya permet la reutilització dels continguts i de les dades sempre que se'n citi la font i la data d'actualització i que no es desnaturalitzi la informació (article 8 de la Llei 37/2007) i també que no es contradigui amb una llicència específica.