DOHA: A team of researchers at the Agriculture Research Department, Ministry of Environment, has announced a scientific discovery to cure a popular disease related to date palm, QNA reported yesterday.
The researchers have not only found the reasons responsible for black spots (fungi) on date palm leaves but also discovered and isolated a resistant micro-organism (bacterium) to cure it. The findings are part of a coveted project initiated to pioneer in the field of date palm research in the world.
The project, in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College (Qatar), was funded by the National Science Research Priority Programme, which had allocated about QR16.4m ($4.5m) to complete the research. The research team discovered the micro-organism from the same environment which has the ability to resist and cure the fungi.
Massoud Jarallah Al Marri, Director of the Agriculture Research Department, said: “This is a very important discovery which will substantially reduce the use of pesticides. This great discovery will not only benefit the agriculture (date palm) but also protect the environment.”
Al Marri said that the researchers have also found out the kind of environment and ideal conditions in which the fungi grows and prospers rapidly.
Another member of the research team, Dr Noha Fareed Al Badawi, said: “Now in the laboratory we have isolated five fungi and a bacterium, which has high ability to suppress all these fungi and stops their growth.”
“From these bacteria we can also produce cure for pathogeneses responsible for the disease, which will replace the pesticides and insecticides that are harmful to the environment and people,” Al Badawi said.
Yet another scientist, Dr Ali Al Kharbatli, who is also the team-leader in the research project, added: “We have successfully managed to isolate the fungi, which belong to Trichoderma family, causing problems to the date palm leaves and productivity.”