Surveys of potato-growing areas and surface water in Lebanon for potato brown and ring rot pathogens
Field surveys were carried out over three growing seasons (2013–2015), in the main potato growing areas of Lebanon, to assess the occurrence of potato brown rot caused by Ralstonia solanacearum and potato ring rot caused by Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus. A total of 232 potato samples were collected from Bekaa valley and 145 samples from Akkar plain, which are the largest Lebanese areas cropped with potatoes. Composite samples of 200 potato tubers were randomly collected from each field, following procedures laid down in EU legislation. Twelve potato demonstration fields were established in Akkar plain and designed for potato export to European markets: these were also surveyed using the same strategy. Furthermore, a network of 40 sampling sites in Bekaa and 19 sites in Akkar was established to collect surface water. GPS coordinates of potato fields and water sampling sites were recorded to map specific sampling points using Geographic Information System. All samples gave negative results for R. solanacearum and C. michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus in potatoes and R. solanacearum in water, as indicated using the official EU methods for detection and diagnosis for these pathogens. A monitoring system for R. solanacearum and C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis has been set up in Lebanon. This will increase the phytosanitary quality of potatoes and provide access to broader international markets.
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