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Olive Disease Models

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The olive (Olea europaea L.), grown on over 8 million hectares, is the second most important oil fruit tree crop worldwide after oil palm and its cultivation is traditionally concentrated in the Mediterranean area. The total olive oil production for the 2006–2007 season was 2.859,500 tons (International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) data). Southern European countries account for about 74.9% of the world production, with Spain being the main producer (38.7%), followed by Italy (21%) and Greece (12.9%). Other important olive oil producers are Turkey, Tunisia and Syria (17.1%) as well as Jordan, Morocco and Algeria.

Peacock spot is also known as Olive scab and leaf spot and is widespread in all the major olive growing regions of the world (Obanor et al. 2005). Symptoms have been found to occur mainly on leaves and appear as dark green to black spots surrounded by a yellow halo similar to the eye spot on peacock’s feathers; hence, the name peacock spot (Graniti 1993; Shabi et al. 1994). Peacock spot is considered to be the most important olive grove disease in Spain (Trapero and Blanco, 2008). Crop losses arise mostly from defoliation of infected trees, poor growth and dieback of defoliated branches and reduced fruit yield (Graniti 1993; Viruega et al. 1997). Heavy defoliation has been reported to cause a delay in ripening and a decrease in oil yield in Italy (Graniti 1993) and New Zealand (MacDonald et al. 2000).

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