Marschner Review

Plant and Soil

, Volume 344, Issue 1, pp 1-50

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Verticillium wilt of olive: a case study to implement an integrated strategy to control a soil-borne pathogen

  • Francisco Javier López-EscuderoAffiliated withDepartamento de Agronomía, Universidad de Córdoba
  • , Jesús Mercado-BlancoAffiliated withDepartamento de Protección de Cultivos, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) Email author 


Olive (Olea europaea L.) is one of the first domesticated and cultivated tree species and has historical, social and economical relevance. However, its future as a strategic commodity in Mediterranean agriculture is threatened by diverse biotic (traditional and new/emerging pests and diseases) and abiotic (erosion, climate change) menaces. These problems could also be of relevance for new geographical areas where olive cultivation is not traditional but is increasingly spreading (i.e., South America, Australia, etc). One of the major constraints for olive cultivation is Verticillium wilt, a vascular disease caused by the soil-borne fungus Verticillium dahliae Kleb. In this review we describe how Verticillium wilt of olive (VWO) has become a major problem for olive cultivation during the last two decades. Similar to other vascular diseases, VWO is difficult to manage and single control measure are mostly ineffective. Therefore, an integrated disease management strategy that fits modern sustainable agriculture criteria must be implemented. Multidisciplinary research efforts and advances to understand this pathosystem and to develop appropriate control measures are summarized. The main conclusion is that a holistic approach is the best strategy to effectively control VWO, integrating biological, chemical, physical, and cultural approaches.


Defoliating and non-defoliating pathotypes Integrated disease management Microsclerotia Molecular detection Olea europaea L. Olive cultivars Pathogen diversity Disease recovery phenomenon Resistance Soil solarization Vascular disease Verticillium dahliae Verticillium wilt control