In 2017, the British government called for greater action to prevent the arrival and spread of Xylella in the UK. A consortium made up of leading universities and research institutes (BRIGIT) decided to use animation to educate the UK public about the disease.
This animation cleverly uses a computer game feel to warn of symptoms to watch for, and highlights the risks posed by bringing plants back from abroad. As reported by the Olive Oil Times on 13 January 2020, Dame Helen Mirren has lent her voice to narrate this animation, warning of the risks posed by Xylella and offering advice on preventing its arrival into the UK.
Xylella, a plant bacterium, is Australia’s number one unwanted plant pest and causes Pierce’s Disease in grapevines. It is known to infect more than 560 plant species worldwide (1) and is now found across southern Europe, from Italy to Portugal, as well as in North and South America, Taiwan and parts of the Middle East. The Australian Government has also amplified its focus on preventing Xylella from entering Australia, with an increased effort in recent years on inspecting and testing potential host plants arriving from overseas (2).
(1). European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). (2018) Update of the Xylella spp. Host plant database 30 July 2018. EFSA Journal 16(9):5408.
(2). Vinehealth Australia (2019). Xylella: the front line. Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker Magazine. 670: 41-44.