Current Status of the Main Olive Pests: Useful Integrated Pest Management Strategies and Genetic Tools

E. Lantero, B. Matallanas and C. Callejas,  Applied Sciences,  13. 2023.

Mediterranean olive cultivation faces challenges in the global environmental change context. Pests and diseases caused by arthropods such as Bactrocera oleae, Prays oleae, and certain vectors of Xylella fastidiosa are expected to increase and spread in part due to this global scenario. The control of these arthropods has relied on synthetic pesticides, the misuse of which has led to pest population resistance and concerns about their negative impacts on biodiversity and global health. Integrated pest management (IPM) methods have emerged through the careful consideration of all available control techniques and the subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations. This paper reviews the IPM guidelines for olive cultivation, prioritizing the use of biological control methods, and the integration of genetics and biotechnology, which bring precision, efficacy, and safety. It evidences the importance of genetic analysis in pest populations, pesticide resistance and in the contributions of predators to pest control. Advances in formulations and delivery systems for pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis, plant-incorporated protectants, improved SIT techniques, and the specific efficacy of biologicals pesticides are covered. Finally, this paper explores promising tools such as RNAi and gene drive while recognizing the ethical, environmental, and regulatory challenges associated with their use. Shortly, these innovations have the potential to reduce the environmental impacts of pests while ensuring the long-term viability of the olive industry.

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