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Evidence of citrus black spot in Europe contested

Mon 29/01/2018 by Richard Wilkinson
citrus black

EFSA’s plant health experts believe that the pathogen causing citrus black spot disease (CBS) is present in Europe. Phyllosticta citricarpa is listed as a quarantine plant pest in the EU and has never before been identified in the region. A study reports that the fungal pathogen has been identified in domestic gardens in Portugal, Malta and Italy, although no evidence has yet to be found of the disease at any of the sites.

The EFSA’s Panel on Plant Health noted a number of limitations in the study. Firstly, it is not clear from the methodology presented how the sample locations and sites were chosen or how samples were collected. Secondly, the sampling procedure was inconsistent and not statistically based. Lastly, no explanation is given for how the CBS disease surveys were conducted. Without properly constituted disease surveys, there is little support for the conclusion that P. citricarpa did not lead to disease.

Surveys conducted by national plant protection organisations following the publication of the paper have not confirmed its findings. Sampling will continue in the coming seasons.

 

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