Xylophilus ampelinus (canker of grapevine)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Xylophilus ampelinus (Panagopoulos 1969) Willems et al. 1987
Preferred Common Name
- canker of grapevine
Other Scientific Names
- Xanthomonas ampelina Panagopoulos 1969
International Common Names
- English: bacterial blight of grapevine
- Spanish: chancro bacteriano de la vid; enfermedad de Oleron; gommose bacillaire; marchitez bacteriana de la vid; necrosis bacteriana
- French: carbon; maladie d'Oléron; nécrose bactérienne de la vigne
Local Common Names
- Greece: tsilik marasi
- Italy: mal nero
- Portugal: mal negro
- South Africa: vlamsiekte
- XANTAM (Xylophilus ampelinus)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The causative agent of bacterial blight of grapevine, X. ampelinus, is a slow-growing bacterium. It is thought that only European grapevines (Vitis vinifera) are susceptible (Panagopoulos, 1988b). Natural dispersal from infected plants is limited to the vineyard and the immediately surrounding area and is mostly associated with pruning. Dispersal over large distances is expected to occur only associated with host plants, most likely during trading of planting material. It is difficult to control as outbreaks are sporadic and infections are often latent thus hindering detection.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Bacteria
- Phylum: Proteobacteria
- Class: Betaproteobacteria
- Order: Burkholderiales
- Family: Comamonadaceae
- Genus: Xylophilus
- Species: Xylophilus ampelinus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The disease and its causative agent, Xylophilus ampelinus, were first described from Crete, Greece (Panagopoulos, 1969). In history, similar symptoms have been observed and are thought to have been caused by the same bacterium: the 'maladie d'Oléron', described in France in 1895 (Ravaz, 1895) and at the time attributed to Erwinia vitivora (Prunier et al., 1970), 'Vlamsiekte' in South Africa (Matthee et al., 1970; Erasmus et al., 1974) and 'mal nero' in Italy (Grasso et al., 1979).
Recent DNA and RNA studies have shown that the bacterium belongs to the third rRNA superfamily where it forms a separate branch, now referred to the genus Xylophilus (Willems et al., 1987).
DescriptionTop of page
X. ampelinus is a Gram-negative rod with one polar flagellum. In culture at 25°C, growth is slow; non-mucoid, smooth, yellow, round, entire colonies, 0.4-0.8 mm diam., develop in 6-10 days on yeast-glucose-chalk agar, which is a favourable growth medium (Bradbury, 1991). In older cultures bacteria tend to become filamentous.
DistributionTop of page
The disease is essentially confined to the Mediterranean vine-growing area of Europe, and South Africa. Symptoms described as the maladie d'Oléron and attributed to E. vitivora were at one time reported from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Tunisia, Yugoslavia and Argentina; the present status of these reports is uncertain, except that Bulgaria declares that the disease is definitely not present. The disease causes problems in France, where it is on the rise, most likely because of changing cultural practices and the increased use of machinery.
See also CABI/EPPO (1998, No. 291).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||1939||Bradbury (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); Botha et al. (2001); EPPO (2020)|
|Tunisia||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Bradbury (1986); EPPO (2020)|
|Japan||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Turkey||Absent, Eradicated||CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|Austria||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey||EPPO (2020); Bradbury (1986)|
|Bulgaria||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey||EPPO (2020); Bradbury (1986)|
|France||Present, Localized||Invasive||Bradbury (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); Manceau et al. (2005); EPPO (2020)|
|Greece||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020); Bradbury (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999)|
|-Crete||Present||CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|Italy||Present||Bradbury (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|-Sardinia||Present||CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|-Sicily||Present||CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|Moldova||Present||CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|Netherlands||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey||EPPO (2020); NPPO of the Netherlands (2013)|
|Portugal||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||EPPO (2020); Bradbury (1986)|
|Serbia||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||EPPO (2020)|
|Serbia and Montenegro||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Bradbury (1986)|
|Slovenia||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020); Dreo et al. (2005); EPPO (2006)|
|Spain||Absent, Formerly present||EPPO (2020); Bradbury (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); CABI (Undated)|
|-Canary Islands||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Bradbury (1986); EPPO (2020)|
|Switzerland||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Bradbury (1986); EPPO (2020)|
|United Kingdom||Absent||EPPO (2020)|
|Argentina||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||Bradbury (1986); EPPO (2020)|
|Uruguay||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey||EPPO (2020)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
X. ampelinus has a relatively limited distribution, and does not occur in many parts of the world where grapevine is grown. It is an EPPO A2 quarantine pest (OEPP/EPPO, 1984) and is also a quarantine pest for NAPPO and the IAPSC. There is a danger of its spread in planting material production and its spread into areas previously not affected by the bacterium (North and South America, Australasia, Far East of Asia). Further spread could lead to severe economic losses, especially as no efficient control measures are known.
HabitatTop of page
European grapevine (Vitis vinifera ) is the only known host (Panagopoulos, 1988b). The disease has been observed in most vine-growing Mediterranean countries and South Africa, i.e., in warm temperate climates with dry summers, warm temperate fully humid climates and also in drier climates when irrigation in used. Although, it is evident that climatic and cultural conditions play a role in the development of the disease, no key epidemiological parameter has yet been identified. Latent infections are common and it is likely that the habitat of the bacterium is larger than the areas where disease is observed.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Grapevines (Vitis vinifera) are the only known host.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Vitis vinifera (grapevine)||Vitaceae||Main|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page
Symptoms are observed in early spring to June in Europe. Infection usually occurs on the lower two to three nodes of shoots that are 12-30 cm long, and spreads slowly upward. Initially, linear reddish-brown streaks appear, extending from the base to the shoot tip; then, more or less lens-shaped cracks and cankers develop, sometimes as deep as the pith. No wound response is observed. Shoots subsequently wilt, droop and dry up. On very young shoots, discoloration is less common and the whole shoot dies back. In cases of severe infection, a large number of adventitious buds develop, but these quickly die back. Infected shoots are shorter, giving the vine a stunted appearance. Cross-sections of stems will reveal browning of the tissues. Stalks of grape bunches on infection exhibit symptoms similar to those on shoots.
Leaves may be penetrated via the petiole and then the veins, in which case the whole leaf dies. Alternatively, leaves are penetrated directly via the stomata, with development of angular, reddish-brown lesions. When infection occurs through the hydathodes, reddish-brown discolorations develop on the leaf tips. Light-yellow bacterial ooze may be seen on infected leaves when humidity is high.
Infected flowers, which have not reached maturity, turn black and die back.
Roots may also be affected, resulting in retardation of shoot growth in grafted plants or plants on its own rootstock.
More information is provided by Panagopoulos (1988a).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Inflorescence / discoloration (non-graminaceous plants)|
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / necrotic areas|
|Roots / reduced root system|
|Stems / canker on woody stem|
|Stems / dieback|
|Stems / gummosis or resinosis|
|Stems / internal discoloration|
|Stems / stunting or rosetting|
|Stems / witches broom|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The life cycle of X. ampelinus has not been completely elucidated. In plants it is mainly present in xylem, often in biofilms (Grall and Manceau, 2003). Primary infections occur through wounds and natural openings, mainly on 1- or 2-year-old shoots, leaves, flowers and grapes. The pathogen is readily transmitted with pruning tools (Ridé et al., 1977) and enters healthy tissues mainly through pruning wounds, especially in wet and windy weather. The bacterium then spreads to other shoots in the early summer with bleeding sap and old wood representing main sources of contamination of developing tissues (Grall et al., 2005). The disease is associated with warm moist conditions, and spread is favoured by overhead sprinkler irrigation. Symptom expression can be highly variable between seasons.
From initial disease foci, local spread in vineyards tends to occur along the rows. It may also be carried in irrigation water used to control the insect pest Viteus vitifoliae (EPPO/CABI, 1996).
Natural dispersal is limited to the vineyard and the immediately surrounding area. In international trade, X. ampelinus is liable to be carried on infected grapevine planting material.
ClimateTop of page
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural dispersal (non-biotic)
Natural dispersal is limited to the vineyard and the immediately surrounding area. From initial disease foci, local spread in vineyards tends to occur along the rows. The pathogen may also be carried in irrigation water used to control the insect pest Viteus vitifoliae (EPPO/CABI, 1996). In plants it is mainly present in xylem, often in biofilms (Grall and Manceau, 2003). Primary infections occur through wounds and natural openings, mainly on 1- or 2-year-old shoots, leaves, flowers and grapes. The pathogen is readily transmitted with pruning tools (Ridé et al., 1977) and enters healthy tissues mainly through pruning wounds, especially in wet and windy weather. It then spreads to other shoots in the early summer with bleeding sap and old wood representing main sources of contamination of developing tissues (Grall et al., 2005). Spread is favoured by overhead sprinkler irrigation.
X. ampelinus is liable to be carried on infected grapevine planting material. The bacterium is able to survive in the wood and is often present as latent infection (Ridé et al., 1983; Panagopoulos, 1987) and thus may be transmitted long distance in infected cuttings.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Plants or parts of plants||Yes||Yes|
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
Impact SummaryTop of page
ImpactTop of page
Severe infection of susceptible cultivars can lead to serious harvest losses, with negative impact on the economy and also on the environment. Outbreaks of disease are sporadic and many years may pass between symptom outbreaks in an infected vineyard.
In 1940, Du Plessis observed harvest losses of >70% in South Africa. Vines infected one year deteriorated and died back in subsequent years. However, since 1956, the disease has only appeared sporadically in South Africa and, where controlled by copper sprays, is of no economic importance.
Serious damage has been reported in France since 1968, particularly on Alicante-Bouschet and Ugni Blanc vines in Poitou-Charente Region, and on Grenache and Maccabeu in Languedoc-Roussillon Region. Vines growing on their own roots in the irrigated areas around Narbonne are the most severely affected. In recent outbreaks cultivars Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Grenache and Clairette Muscat were most severely affected in Die, Cognac and Armagnac regions (Manceau et al., 2005). The disease has been important in Spain in the past (Lopez et al., 1981) but has not been observed recently.
In Greece, the disease is widespread in Crete, especially in Iraklion county, where it occurs on the very susceptible cultivar Sultanine. It has recently spread to some other Aegean islands. On the mainland, where it was previously limited to the Kynegos area in the southern Peloponnese on cv. Corinthe noir, it has recently appeared in two of the best grape-growing counties in the western Peloponnese, where large areas of this economically important cultivar are threatened.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Host damage
- Increases vulnerability to invasions
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
DiagnosisTop of page
The bacterium can be detected by immunofluorescent microscopy in washings from diseased leaves or in homogenates of woody tissues, as well as in ooze or on pruning shears (Ridé et al., 1977). The detection of the bacterium via ELISA was found not to be fully reliable in the 1980s (Lopez et al., 1987), but has been used since (Fiori et al., 1996). Several PCR based methods are described: nested PCR (Botha et al., 2001), PCR and PCR employing detection of products via ELISA (Manceau et al., 2000, 2005) and real-time PCR (Dreo et al., 2007). Isolation of strains is difficult due to poor and slow growth of bacteria on artificial media (Panagopoulos, 1969). Media should be prepared fresh and not reheated or sterilized twice (Panagopoulos, 1969). The bacterium may be found in stems and leaves up to 10 cm (or even 40 cm) above visibly infected areas. Erasmus et al. (1974) describe standard bacteriological tests and three serological techniques for the rapid identification of X. ampelinus. Analysis of fatty acids can be useful for identification of pure cultures (Dreo et al., 2005).
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Symptom assessment and visual inspections should be supported by laboratory diagnosis of X. ampelinus (see Diagnosis). Detection based on host plant symptoms, and identification by biochemical tests, serological tests, molecular tests, fatty acid profiling and pathogenicity tests are covered in OEPP/EPPO (2009).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Eutypa canker, caused by Eutypa lata, also affects shoots. The two diseases are often controlled together. Symptoms may be confused with those caused by Phomopsis viticola, Sphaceloma ampelinum, Stereum hirsutum, Phellinus igniarius and Verticillium spp. (Pearson and Goheen, 1998). Panagopoulos (1987) mentions similar symptoms caused by Flavescence Doreé, Bois noir, Pseudopeziza tracheiphila and boron deficiency.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Chemicals have failed to control the disease (Panagopoulos, 1987). Control can only be achieved through viticultural practices. Infected shoots should be destroyed. Pruning should be carried out in dry weather and as late as possible. All pruning tools should be thoroughly disinfected during the operation. Overhead sprinkler irrigation should not be used. For more information, see Ridé (1996).
Direct inspection of imported planting material is unlikely to be reliable, so if material is imported from areas where the disease is known to occur, nursery inspections are necessary. Plants for planting should come from an area where X. ampelinus does not occur, or the consignment should come from mother plants which have been laboratory tested against X. ampelinus (OEPP/EPPO, 1990), for example, in the context of a certification scheme for pathogen-tested planting material.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Assessing the sensitivity of other grapevines (apart from Vitis vinifera) to the disease; clarification of host plants or parts are liable to carry pest in international trade; identification of other potential hosts in nature; improvement of detection methods, especially for latent infections; and the possibility of establishing a succesful connection with a vector.
ReferencesTop of page
CABI/EPPO, 1996. Viteus vitifoliae. In: Quarantine Pests for Europe, 2nd edition [ed. by Smith, I. M. \McNamara, D. G. \Scott, P. R. \Holderness, M.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI/EPPO, 568-573.
Dreo T; Gruden K; Manceau C; Janse JD; Ravnikar M, 2007. Development of a real-time PCR-based method for detection of Xylophilus ampelinus. Plant Pathology, 56(1):9-16. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/ppa
EPPO, 1990. Specific quarantine requirements. EPPO Technical Documents, No. 1008. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Erasmus HD; Matthee FN; Louw HA, 1974. A comparison between plant pathogenic species of Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas and Erwinia with special reference to the bacterium responsible for bacterial blight of vines. Phytophylactica, 6(1):11-18
Grall S; Manceau C, 2003. Colonization of Vitis vinifera by a green fluorescence protein-labeled, gfp-marked strain of Xylophilus ampelinus, the causal agent of bacterial necrosis of grapevine. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69(4):1904-1912.
Grall S; Roulland C; Guillaumès J; Manceau C, 2005. Bleeding sap and old wood are the two main sources of contamination of merging organs of vine plants by Xylophilus ampelinus, the causal agent of bacterial necrosis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(12):8292-8300.
Grasso S; Moller WJ; Refatti E; Magnano di San Lio G; Granata G, 1979. The bacterium Xanthomonas ampelina as causal agent of a grape decline in Sicily. Rivista di Patologia Vegetale, IV, 15(3/4):91-106
Grodnitskaya ID; Gukasyan AB, 1999. Bacterial diseases of conifer seedlings in forest nurseries of Central Siberia. Microbiology (New York), 68(2):189-193; [translated from Mikrobiologiya (1999) 68(2)]; 25 ref.
Lopez MM; Gracia M; Sampayo M, 1981. Studies on Xanthomonas ampelina Panagopoulos in Spain. Proceedings of the Fifth Congress of the Mediterranean Phytopathological Union, Patras, Greece, 21-27 September 1980. Athens, Greece: Hellenic Phytopathological Society, 56-57
Manceau C; Coutaud MG; Guyon R, 2000. Assessment of subtractive hybridization to select species and subspecies specific DNA fragments for the identification of Xylophilus ampelinus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). European Journal of Plant Pathology, 106:243-254.
Matthee FN; Heyns AJ; Erasmus HD, 1970. Present position of bacterial blight (Vlamsiekte) in South Africa. Deciduous Fruit Grower, 20:81-84.
Panagopoulos CG, 1969. The disease "Tsilik marasi" of grapevine: its description and identification of the causal agent (Xanthomonas ampelina sp. nov.). Annales de l'Institut Phytopathologique Benaki (New Series), 9:59-81.
Panagopoulos CG, 1988. Bacterial blight. In: Pearson RG, Goheen AC, eds. Compendium of Grape Diseases. St Paul, USA: APS Press, 42-44.
Panagopoulos CG, 1988. Xanthomonas ampelina Panagopoulos. In: European Handbook of Plant Diseases [ed. by Smith, I. M. \Dunez, J. \Lelliot, R. A. \Phillips, D. H. \Archer, S. A.]. Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Boston, Palo Alto, Melbourne, UK & USA & Australia: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 157-158.
Prunier JP; Ridé M; Lafon R; Bulit J, 1970. La nécrose bactérienne de la vigne. Comptes rendus de l'Academie d'Agriculture de France, 56:975-982.
Ravaz L, 1895. La maladie d'Oléron. Annales de l'École Nationale d'Agriculture, Montpellier, 9:299-317.
Ridé M, 1996. La nécrose bactérienne de la vigne: données biologiques et épidémiologiques, bases d'une stratégie de lutte. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie d'Agriculture de France, 82:31-50.
Ridé M; Ridé S; Novoa D, 1977. Données nouvelles sur la biologie de Xanthomonas ampelina Panagopoulos, agent de la nécrose bactérienne de la vigne. Annales de Phytopathologie, 9:87.
Smith IM; McNamara DG; Scott PR; Holderness M, 1997. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization., Ed. 2:vii + 1425 pp.; many ref.
Botha W J, Serfontein S, Greyling M M, Berger D K, 2001. Detection of Xylophilus ampelinus in grapevine cuttings using a nested polymerase chain reaction. Plant Pathology. 50 (4), 515-526. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-3059.2001.00568.x
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Dreo T, Seljak G, Janse J D, Beld I van der, Tjou-Tam-Sin L, Gorkink-Smits P, Ravnikar M, 2005. First laboratory confirmation of Xylophilus ampelinus in Slovenia. Bulletin OEPP. 35 (1), 149-155. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2338.2005.00795.x
Manceau C, Grall S, Brin C, Guillaumes J, 2005. Bacterial extraction from grapevine and detection of Xylophilus ampelinus by a PCR and Microwell plate detection system. Bulletin OEPP. 35 (1), 55-60. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2338.2005.00813.x
NPPO of the Netherlands, 2013. Pest status of harmful organisms in the Netherlands., Wageningen, Netherlands:
OrganizationsTop of page
France: UMR Pathologie Vegétale, INRA-INH-Université d'Angers, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Centre d'Angers, F-49071 Beaucouzé
Slovenia: National Institute of Biology, Vecna pot 111, Sl-1000 Ljubliana
Spain: Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA), 46113 Moncada, Valencia, http://www.ivia.es/bacteriologia/principal.swf
ContributorsTop of page
31/01/2008 Updated by:
Tanja Dreo, National Institute of Biology, Dept of Plant Physiol & Biotech, Vezna pot 111, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Distribution MapsTop of page
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