BRIGHT SPARKS: Scientists at the University of Cordoba have produced the findings

Article by James Warren

RESEARCHERS from have produced the world’s first census of deadly bacteria that has caused tree populations to plummet across Andalucia. 

Scientists at the University of Cordoba have compiled a comprehensive list of the microorganisms that cause the damage. 

In total, 128 different parasites have been discovered lying in the region’s soil, meaning it is home to one of the largest number of microorganisms worldwide. 

Olive farmers throughout Western Andalucia have been struggling with poor soil conditions over recent years that have led to nearly a 5% reduction in crops year on year.

Olive Grove
PLAGUED: Olive trees have been battling for survival against the lethal parasites

Data was collected over a period of four years and researchers analysed a total of 376 plots across Western Andalucia.

“The creation of the database is of great importance, since these soil organisms are a real problem in agriculture,” explained Antonio Archidona-Yuste, author of the study.

Researchers will now try to understand what can be done to reduce the concentration of these organisms to ensure that the olive industry remains the largest income provider in the region.

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