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Mandate/Mission

Evaluation of the sanitary status of the major crops in Lebanon (field inspections, laboratory analysis, epidemiology of diseases, control of diseases).

Evaluation of the sanitary status of fruit trees in Lebanon (field inspections, laboratory analysis, epidemiology of diseases, incidence and distribution of viral disease according to the regions and the varieties, control of diseases).

Field inspections and identification of plant diseases by means of biochemical tests, biological, serological and molecular techniques.

New interests to integrated pest management

Diagnosis of plant diseases for samples broke to the laboratory by the farmers

Extension and advisory services for the farmers


Staff

Head, research scientist (Ph.D): Dr. Elia Choueiri

4 researcher assistants (Eng): Eng. Fouad Jreijiri; Eng.  Souheir El Zammar; Eng. Rola El Amil; Eng. Samer Wakim;  2 support staffs: Miss. Zeinab Chaalan, Miss Diana Bou Yaghi


Projects

Title: Survey of fruit tree viruses in Lebanon (apricot, peach, cherry, almond, plum)

Main objectives: Assessment of the incidence and distribution of viral diseases according to the different growing regions and varieties, identification of new pathogens, occurrence of other main non viral diseases on stone fruits such as those caused by fungal and bacterial pathogens and observation of any traditional abiotic problems

Duration: 4 years.

Cooperation: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, University of Bari-Italy.

Title: Study of a new phytoplasma disease of almond in Lebanon and prospecting for the presence of phytoplasma and spiroplasma diseases of fruit trees and vegetable crops

Main objectives: (i): Characterization of newly identified phytoplasma on almond by molecular techniques, epidemiology of the disease (ii): Identification of other phytoplasma diseases in Lebanon.

Duration: 4 years

Cooperation: INRA Bordeaux-France

Title: Sudy of fire blight disease “ Erwinia amylovora” on pome fruits in Lebanon and biological control of Fire Blight disease on pome fruits in Lebanon by the use of essential oils of medicinal plants

Main objectives: Assessment of the incidence and distribution of fire blight disease on pome fruits according to the different growing regions and varieties; characterization of isolates collected from Lebanon; Chemical control; study the resistance of Erwinia amylovora isolates to antibiotics and antimicrobial effects of essential oils of different medicinal plants on the growth of Erwinia amylovora in vitro and on the host plants under green house conditions.

Duration: 2-3 years.

Cooperation: INRA-Angers, ARIL (Fanar-Beirut), American University of Beirut.

Title: Evaluation of the sanitary status of sugar beet and potato and in Lebanon

Main objectives: Assessment of the incidence and distribution of viral diseases according to the different growing regions, occurrence of other main non viral diseases on potato such as those caused by fungal and bacterial pathogens and observation of any traditional abiotic problems

Duration: 2 years.

Cooperation: American University of Beirut, Benaki Phytopathological Institute, Greece

Title: Project for the Production and Delivery of Certified Plant Material in Lebanon

Main objectives: Strengthening and developing agriculture in Lebanon with special reference to phytosanitary measures for the quantitative and qualitative improvement of olive, citrus, grapevine, pome and stone fruit production. These actions are aimed at creating job opportunities and enhancing the existing genetic resources.

Specific objectives: Producing and marketing virus-tested propagation material in Lebanon, supporting both nurseries and the scientific sector in charge of the preservation and production of elite material; establishing a viable organization representing the nursery sector; developing a coherent and modern legislative framework in the field of the production of certified propagation material, plant protection, sanitary inspection of imports, and regulation of the nursery sector; selecting candidate clones of commercially valuable local varieties of stone fruits and grapevine.

Duration: 3 years

Cooperation: Italian institutions: CIHEAM-BARI (Centre international des Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes, DPPMA (Department of Plant Protection and Applied Microbiology), CO.VI.P (Apulian Nurseries Consortium) ; Lebanese institutions : LARI (Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute), MoA (Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture), NCSR (National Council for Scientific Research), CDR (Council of Development and Reconstruction)


Achievements

· Evaluation of the sanitary status of fruit trees in Lebanon (field inspections, laboratory analysis, epidemiology of diseases, incidence and distribution of viral, bacterial and fungi diseases according to the regions and the varieties and indication of abiotic problems

· Detection of new diseases in Lebanon and abroad (First report of PLMVd and HSVd diseases in Lebanon; - First report of a phytoplasma disease of almond in Lebanon and abroad); First report of Bois noir disease on grapevine

· Evaluation of the sanitary status of sugar beet and potato in Lebanon (field inspections, laboratory analysis, epidemiology of diseases, incidence and distribution of viral, bacterial and fungi diseases according to the regions and indication of abiotic problems

· Detection of PVYNTN isolate on potato

Starting of the certification project


Other Activities  

* Participation in Mediterranean Network on Fruit Tree Viruses
* Participation in International Council of Virus and Virus-like Diseases of Grapevine (ICVG)
* Participation in American Phytopathological Society (APS) conferences
* Participation in Arab Society for Plant Protection (ASPP) conferences
* Participation in Mediterranean Phytopathological Union (MPU)
Extension and advisory services for the farmers (seminars, field days, extension bulletins, etc)


Publication of Research work in Peer reviewed agriculture journals

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Chalak L., Elbitar A., Rizk R., Choueiri E., Salar P., Bové J.M., 2005. Attemps to eliminate Candidatus phytoplasma phoenicium from infected Lebanese almond varieties by tissue culture techniques combined or not with thermotherapy. European Journal of Plant Pathology (In press).

Saad A.T., Hanna L., Abi Ghanem R., Choueiri E., 2004. Fungus diseases on certified seed potato tubers. Phytopathology 94: S90.

Chalak L., Elbitar A., Massad W., Choueiri E., 2004. Assainissement de la pomme de terre infectée par le virus PVYNTN par culture de méristèmes. Lebanese Scientific Journal Vol. 5, No. 1: 37-43.

Verdin E., Salar P., Danet J.L., Choueiri E., Jreijiri F., El-Zammar S., Gélie B., Bové J.M., Garnier M., 2004. Phylogenetical characterization and PCR detection of a new phytoplasma in almond (Prunus amygdalus) and peach (Prunus persicae) in the Mediterranean area. Acta Horticulturae (In press).

Choueiri E., El-Zammar S., Jreijiri F., Mnayer D., Massaad R., Saad A.T., Hanna L., Varveri C., 2004. Phytosanitary status of potato in Bekaa valley in Lebanon. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 34: 117-121.

Choueiri E., Verdin E., Danet J.L., Jreijiri F., El-Zammar S., El Harfouch I., Issa S.D., Salard P., Bové J.M., Garnier M., 2003. Infection of almond trees in Lebanon by a new phytoplasma disease. Arab Journal of Plant Protection 21: 144.

AbiHarb K., Saad A.T., Hanna L., Choueiri E., 2003. Efficacy of plant extracts for the control of Erwinia amylovora. Phytopathology 93: S2.

AbiHarb K., Khoury W., Choueiri E., Hanna L., Saad A.T., 2003. Management of apple blossom blight by chemical treatments, 2001. Fungicide and Nematicide tests, 58 (PF 013).

Verdin E., Salar P., Danet J-L., Choueiri E., Jreijiri F., El Zammar S., Gélie B., J. Bové J.M., Garnier M., 2003. 'Candidatus Phytoplasma phoeniceum' sp. nov., a novel phytoplasma associated with an emerging lethal disease of almond trees in Lebanon and Iran. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53: 833-838.

Choueiri E., Abou Ghanem-Sabanadzovic N., El Zammar S., Jreijiri F., 2003. Viruses of stone fruit trees in Lebanon. In: Options Méditerranéennes Number 45, Virus and virus-like diseases of stone fruits, with particular reference to the Mediterranean region (eds Myrta A, Di Terlizzi B, and Savino V), pp. 25-27. CIHEAM, Valenzano (IT).

Choueiri E., Verdin E., Danet J.L., Jreijiri F., El Zammar S., Salard P., Bové J.M., Garnier M., 2003. A phytoplasma disease of almond in Lebanon. In: Options Méditerranéennes Number 45, Virus and virus-like diseases of stone fruits, with particular reference to the Mediterranean region (eds Myrta A, Di Terlizzi B, and Savino V), pp.123-125. CIHEAM, Valenzano (IT).

Abou Ghanem-Sabanadzovic N., Choueiri E., 2003. Presence of Peach latent mosaic and hop stunt viroid in Lebanon. In: Options Méditerranéennes Number 45, Virus and virus-like diseases of stone fruits, with particular reference to the Mediterranean region (eds Myrta A, Di Terlizzi B, and Savino V), pp. 139-141. CIHEAM, Valenzano (IT).

Choueiri E., El-Zammar S., Jreijiri F., Saad A.T., Afram M.A., Varveri C., 2002. Records of potato viruses in Lebanon. Journal of Plant Pathology 84: 139.
Choueiri E., Jreijiri F., El Zammar S., Verdin E., Salar P., Danet J.L., Bové J., Garnier M., 2002. First report of grapevine “Bois Noir” Disease and of a New phytoplasma infecting Solanaceous Plants in Lebanon. Plant Disease 86: 697.

Choueiri E., Abou Ghanem-Sabanadzovic N., Khazzaka K., Sabanadzovic S., Di Terlizzi B., Myrta A., El Zammar S., Jreijiri F., Savino V., 2002. First record of hop stunt viroid in apricot in Lebanon. Journal of Plant Pathology 84: 69.

Choueiri E., Younis H., Saad A., Issa A., Hanna L., Hajj Hassan S., El Tackach T., 2001. Occurrence and distribution of sugar beet viruses in Lebanon. Phytopathologia Mediterranea 40: 260-264 .

Choueiri E., Haddad C., Abou Ghanem-Sabanadzovic N., Jreijiri F., Issa S., Saad A.T., Di Terlizzi B., Savino V., 2001. A survey of peach viruses in Lebanon. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 31: 493-497.

Choueiri E., Abou Ghanem-Sabanadzovic N., Khazzaka K., Sabanadzovic S., Di Terlizzi B., Jreijiri F., Savino V., 2001. Identification of peach latent mosaic viroid in Lebanon. Journal of Plant Pathology 83: 225.

** Choueiri E., Jreijiri F., Issa S., Verdin E., Bové J., Garnier M., 2001. First report of a phytoplasma disease of almond (Prunus amygdalus) in Lebanon. Plant Disease 85: 802.

Myrta A., Di Terlizzi B., Boscia D., Choueiri E., Gatt M., Gavriel L., Çaglayan K., Varveri C., Zeramdini H., Aparicio F., Pallas V., Savino V., 2001. Serological characterisation of Mediterranean Prunus Necrotic Ring Spot Virus Isolates. Journal of Plant Pathology 83: 45-49.

Issa S., Choueiri E., 2001. The influence of different herbicides upon nodule bacteria and chickpea nodulation. Magon 1: 5-16.

Choueiri E., 2001. State of the art for the certification in the Mediterranean-Country Reports (Lebanon). In: Options Méditerranéennes Number 35, Production and Exchange of Virus-free Plant Propagating Material in the Mediterranean Region (eds Myrta A, Di Terlizzi B, and Savino V), pp. 87-95. CIHEAM, Valenzano (IT).

Saad A.T., Hanna L., Choueiri E., 2000. Evaluation of Streptomycine and Oxytetracycline Resistance of Erwinia amylovora Populations in Lebanon. Phytopathology 90: S68.

Castellano M.A., Abou Ghanem N., Choueiri E., Martelli G.P., 2000. Ultrastructure of grapevine leafroll-associated virus 2 and 7 infections. Journal of plant pathology 82: 9-15.

Saad A.T., Hanna L., Asly O.J., Choueiri E., 1999. The distribution and host range of the first serious outbreak of fire blight in Lebanon. Acta Horticulturae 489: 65-69.

Di Terlizzi B., Boscia D., Savino V., Gatt M., Caglayan K., Zeramdini H., Myrta A., Choueiri E., Gavriel I., Varveri C., Aparicio F., Pallas V., 1998. Serological characterisation of Prunus Necrotic Ringspot Virus (PNRSV) isolates by monoclonal antibodies. In: Options Méditerranéennes, Number 19, Stone Fruit Viruses and Certification in the Mediterranean Countries: Problems and Prospects, eds (Di Terlizzi B, Myrta A, and Savino V), pp. 225-227. CIHEAM, Valenzano (IT).

Choueiri E., Abou-Ghanem N., Boscia D., 1997. Grapevine virus A and grapevine virus D are serologically distantly related. Vitis 36: 39-41.

La Notte P., Buzkan N., Choueiri E., Minafra A., Martelli G.P., 1997. Acquisition and transmission of grapevine virus A by the mealybug Pseudococcus longispinus. Journal of plant pathology 78: 79-85.

Choueiri E., La Notte P., Minafra A., Martelli G.P., 1997. Presence of grapevine virus A (GVA) and grapevine leafroll associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3) in mealybug populations of the Mediterranean region. Arab Journal of Plant Protection 15: 104.

** Choueiri E., Boscia D., Digiaro M., Castellano M.A., Martelli G.P., 1996. Some properties of a hitherto undiscribed filamentous virus of the grapevine. Vitis 35: 91-96.

Martelli G.P., Boscia D., Choueiri E., Digiaro M., Castellano M.A., Savino V., 1994. Occurence of filamentous viruses and rugose wood of grapevine in Yemen. Phytopathologia mediterranea 33: 146-151.

Choueiri E., Digiaro M., Minafra A., Savino V., 1993. A survey of peach viruses in Apulia. Advances in Horticulture Sciences 7: 61-64.

**: The virus GLRaV-7 associated to grapevine leafroll is a new causal agent recorded for the first time in the world and the phytoplasma of almond is also a new disease.


Proceeding & Conferences

Choueiri E., Jreijiri F., El-Zammar S., Verdin E., Salar P., Danet J.L., Bové J., Garnier M., 2003. Grapevine “Bois noir” disease in Lebanon. 14th Meeting of the International Council for the study of virus and virus-like diseases of the grapevine (ICVG), Locorotondo, Italy 2003, 101-102.

Choueiri E., Paulin J.P., Saad A.T., Jreijiri F., Hanna L., Abi Harb K., 2001. Chemical control of Erwinia amylovora and its resistance to antibiotics in Lebanon. 11th Congress of the Mediterranean Phytopathological Union and 3rd Congress of Sociedale Portuguesa de Fitopatologia, Evora, Portugal 2001, 473-474.

Myrta A., Di Terlizzi B., Boscia D., Choueiri E., Gatt M., Gavriel I., Caglayan K., Varveri C., Zeramdini H., Aparicio F., Pallas V., Savino V., 2000. Serological characterization of Mediterranean Prunus necrotic ringspot isolates. 18th International Symposium on Virus and Virus-like Diseases of Temperate Fruit Crops, Kent, UK 2000, 134.

Issa S., Choueiri E., Wood M., 1999. Accelerated biodegradation of atrazine and trifluralin in surface and subsurface soils. International Conference on Technology Transfer in Biotechnologies as a Catalyst for National Development, Beirut, Lebanon 1999, 18.

Choueiri E., Digiaro M., Savino V., 1997. Further evidence that grapevine virus A is the agent of Kober stem grooving. 12th Meeting of the International Council for the study of viruses and virus-like diseases of the grapevine, (ICVG) Lisbon, Portugal 1997, 39.

Choueiri E., Castellano M.A., Digiaro M., Bottalico G., Martelli G.P., 1997. New data on grapevine leafroll-associated virus 7. 12th Meeting of the International Council for the study of viruses and virus-like diseases of the grapevine, (ICVG) Lisbon, Portugal 1997, 19.

La Notte P., Choueiri E., Buzkan N., Minafra M., 1996. Further studies on PCR detection and transmission parameters of GVA by mealybugs. 5th MNCG Meeting, Murcia, Spain 1996, 6.

Martelli G.P., Boscia D., Choueiri E., Digiaro M., Castellano M.A., Savino V., 1993. Rugose wood of grapevine in Yemen. 11th Meeting of the International Council for the study of viruses and virus diseases of the grapevine (ICVG) Montreux, Switzerland 1993, 51

 


Major Constraints/Needs

Lack of equipments, qualified personnel. Needs: (i) Equipment availability (PCR machine, Digi Doc-it System, Hybridization oven, Epifluorescent microscope, Vertical autoclave, High centrifuge, spectrophotometer, etc) (ii) Training of employees (iii) Hiring of new specialized personnel in Plant Pathology (Mycology, Bacteriology and Nematology) (iiii) Development of Networking.

 
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