BIOVEXO Biocontrol of Xylella and its vector
in olive trees for integrated pest management

The spread of the pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa has been rapidly increasing across Southern Europe, severely damaging and often completely destroying olive and almond orchards. To date, there is no organic solution available on the market to battle the devastation caused by Xylella. As a result, the BIOVEXO project will establish and validate the top performing biopesticides to combat the aggressive bacterium over a duration of 5 years.


H2020 BBI-JU | Pesticides | IA


€ 8.02 million

Start date



60 months

Project details

The challenge

One of the most threatening pathogenic bacteria which is becoming wide-spread across the Mediterranean region and other parts of Europe is Xylella fastidiosa. Due to its rapid transmission across cultivation areas, Xylella is projected to cause yield losses of 35% - 70% in olive harvests and 13% in almond harvests.

One of the most impacted regions in Europe is the region of Apulia (Italy), where olive production diminished by an alarming 65%-80%. Heritage 400-year-old olive trees have been destroyed and an estimated 100,000 jobs have been lost.

To date, no organic solution exists on the market to combat Xylella, placing the economic and social-cultural sustainability of Europe at risk.

The solution

BIOVEXO aims to demonstrate a set of novel biopesticides targeting Xylella fastidiosa and its transmitting spittlebug vector. Six innovative bio-based solutions will be tested prior to market introduction: two bacterial strains, a microbial metabolite, two plant extracts and an entomopathogenic fungus.

At least, the two best performing solutions will be brought forward, closer to the market, at the end of the project (Technical Readiness Level 7-8). Integrated pest management measures will be applied to the existing, and the newly planted orchards during the large-scale pilot in Apulia (Italy) and Mallorca (Spain) — the two most dominant Xylella outbreak regions in Europe.

The main impacts

The BIOVEXO project aims to eliminate the disease in the long-run and introduce sustainable disease management measures. Namely, the BIOVEXO project will:

  • Establish at least two new cross-sectoral interconnections. One between the biotech industry and biopesticide producers; the other between the biotech industry and farmers.
  • Create at least six new bio-based value chains.
  • Develop at least two new products in the form of two biopesticides for large-scale production in the coming years.
Lastly, the BIOVEXO project will offer the potential to switch to biological treatment options instead of chemical pesticides all the while preserving some of the most impacted regions.


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 887281. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bio Based Consortium.

Information and views set out across this project are those of the Consortium and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of the European Union. Neither European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use that may be made of the information contained herein.