ultan Qaboos University (SQU), Muscat,Oman was the venue for a four day (20-23March 2005) workshop focused primarily oncurrent and future research on witches’ broomdisease of lime (WBDL) and mango suddendecline disease. The four-day workshop wasorganized by the SQU College of Agriculturaland Marine Sciences (CAMS) in collaborationwith the US Embassy in Muscat, InternationalSociety for Horticultural Science (ISHS),International Society of Citriculture, and UnitedStates Department of Agriculture (USDA).During the workshop sessions, experts fromOman and abroad reviewed the followingissues: the status of citrus and mango in theproducing countries around the world; the sta-tus of WBDL research; mango sudden declineresearch; and strategies for regional and inter-national collaboration on WBDL and mangosudden decline.The opening ceremony, under the patronage ofDr. Hamed al Salmi, SQU Vice-President, wasattended by H.E. Richard Baltimore III, USAmbassador to Oman, senior members of theSQU administration and faculty, a large numberof participants from Oman, and 15 experts fromsix foreign countries. The participants of theworkshop were welcomed by Dr. Ali al Bimani,Assistant Vice President, who reiterated SQU’sdesire to support regional and international col-laboration for conducting research on citrusand mango.
The workshop addressed issues concerning thespread, management, and control of diseases of
Int’l Tropical Fruits Workshop(Citrus and Mango)
citrus and mango, two major tropical fruits thathave special importance in Oman. Lime (
) is ranked the second most impor-tant crop in the Arabian Peninsula after dates. Ithas been in decline due to witches’ broom disea-se (WBDL) caused by a phytoplasma. Mango(
) has been devastated in theyears since 1998 when a new fungal disease,mango sudden decline, caused by
, entered the country and now poses aserious threat. WBDL has its origin in Oman, butthe origin of mango sudden decline is probablyBrazil. Both of the diseases have been spreadingwithin the region. WBDL is currently the majorcause of destruction of lime in Iran whilst mangosudden decline has recently been reported inPakistan with the potential for further spread inthe Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.
Witches’ Broom Disease of Lime (WBDL)
In his opening address, Dr. Fahad Al Said,Assistant Professor and Chairperson of theWorkshop Organizing Committee, recalled howsome 20 years ago, lime was ranked the secondmost important crop after dates in Oman andhow its production had declined drastically overthe years, primarily due to WBDL. Witches’broom disease was first reported in northernOman in the early 1970s. Since then the disea-se has spread to UAE (reported in 1989) andSoutheastern Iran (reported in 1998). Technicalsessions on WBDL covered a wide range of rela-ted topics, including disease spread, diagnosisand transmission, vectors and alternative hosts,phytoplasma control using terpenes, citrus bree-ding for resistance using molecular and biotech-nological tools, tolerance studies, and manage-ment by cultural practices.
Mango Sudden Decline
Since 1998, mango sudden decline has devas-tated mango production in Oman. The patho-gen is especially virulent on local mango culti-vars and local material used as rootstocks forexotic scions. The pathogen is carried betweentrees by a bark beetle. Recognizing the seriousthreat posed by the disease, Dr. Mike Deadman,Head of the Crop Sciences Department at SQU,spoke about the current status and epidemiolo-gy of the disease in Oman. During the technicalsessions topics discussed included the controland management of the disease, the impact ofsimilar diseases in USA, Brazil, Pakistan, Sicily,and Iran and pathological and histopathologicalaspects of the mango decline in Oman.
A group picture of conference participants.Participants visiting a mango orchard in the Batinah region of Oman.