Ionomic Differences between Susceptible and Resistant Olive Cultivars Infected by Xylella fastidiosa in the Outbreak Area of Salento, Italy
Olive quick decline syndrome (OQDS) is a devastating disease of olive trees in the Salento region, Italy. This disease is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which is widespread in the outbreak area; however, the "Leccino" variety of olives has proven to be resistant with fewer symptoms and lower bacterial populations than the "Ogliarola salentina" variety. We completed an empirical study to determine the mineral and trace element contents (viz; ionome) of leaves from infected trees comparing the two varieties, to develop hypotheses related to the resistance of Leccino trees to X. fastidiosa infection. All samples from both cultivars tested were infected by X. fastidiosa, even if leaves were asymptomatic at the time of collection, due to the high disease pressure in the outbreak area and the long incubation period of this disease. Leaves were binned for the analysis by variety, field location, and infected symptomatic and infected asymptomatic status by visual inspection. The ionome of leaf samples was determined using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and compared with each other. These analyses showed that Leccino variety consistently contained higher manganese (Mn) levels compared with Ogliarola salentina, and these levels were higher in both infected asymptomatic and infected symptomatic leaves. Infected asymptomatic and infected symptomatic leaves within a host genotype also showed differences in the ionome, particularly a higher concentration of calcium (Ca) and Mn levels in the Leccino cultivar, and sodium (Na) in both varieties. We hypothesize that the ionome differences in the two varieties contribute to protection against disease caused by X. fastidiosa infection.