XYLELLA FASTIDIOSA: A MODEL FOR ANALYZING AGRICULTURAL BIOSECURITY
The threat to national security posed by the hostile release of human pathogens has been extensively documented. However, conclusions regarding the menace that plant pests and pathogens pose to the national economy and food supply are less developed. Here we present a risk analysis for the arrival and spread of foreign plant pathogens into the U. S. agricultural system. Xylella fastidiosa Citrus Variegated Chlorosis strain, an exotic plant pathogenic bacterium listed as a regulated biological agent under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002, serves as a model to evaluate the threat that plant diseases pose to crops and agriculture-dependent industries. We assess the nation's capacity to detect, contain, and manage newly introduced plant pathogens, exposing areas that need improvement and limitations of the system. This analysis provides a framework for understanding the risk that exotic plant diseases pose to U. S. agricultural biosecurity and a reference to continue preparing for the possible arrival of these threats.