The Epidemiology of Xylella fastidiosa; A Perspective on Current Knowledge and Framework to Investigate Plant Host-Vector-Pathogen Interactions
Insect-transmitted plant diseases caused by viruses, phytoplasmas, and bacteria share many features in common regardless of the causal agent. This perspective aims to show how a model framework, developed originally for plant virus diseases, can be modified for the case of diseases incited by Xylella fastidiosa. In particular, the model framework enables the specification of a simple but quite general invasion criterion defined in terms of key plant, pathogen, and vector parameters and, importantly, their interactions, which determine whether or not an incursion or isolated outbreak of a pathogen will lead to establishment, persistence, and subsequent epidemic development. Hence, this approach is applicable to the wide range of X. fastidiosa-incited diseases that have recently emerged in southern Europe, each with differing host plant, pathogen subspecies, and vector identities. Of particular importance are parameters relating to vector abundance and activity, transmission characteristics, and behavior in relation to preferences for host infection status. Some gaps in knowledge with regard to the developing situation in Europe are noted.