Watermelon Production In Jordan Threatened By Serious Virus

watermelonScientists have discovered incidents of watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WnCSV) in melons and watermelons in Jordan.

Fewer cold spells are great for pests, but terrible for farmers. Last year, there were higher incidents of bed bugs in the UAE as a result of increasing temperatures and in October, Jordan’s tomato production was hampered by heat and pests. Whether heat is responsible for a recently-discovered infestation of watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WnCSV) is questionable, but the potential impact on one of Jordan’s top twenty crops could be devastating.

A study released by the Department of Plant Protection at the University of Jordan in Amman shows that various samples of watermelon and melon showed levels of the watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WnCSV).

Leaf samples taken from watermelon, melon, squash, cucumber, and bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) plants were tested for WmCSV-[JO] infection by PCR.

The virus was detected in 8 melon and 87 watermelon samples collected in Ghor Assafi, in the southern Jordan valley.

Compounding the problem, three samples taken from Mafraq were infected by both WmCSV-[JO] and Squash leaf curl virus. According to the report, the leaf curl virus is closely related to viruses present in Israel, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, and Sudan.

“Watermelon plants biolistically inoculated with WmCSV-[JO] developed characteristic mottling, yellowing and severe leaf curling symptoms 3 weeks post inoculation.”

In 2005, according to the UN World Food and Agricultural Organization, watermelon was among Jordan’s top 20 most important and lucrative crops.

::  NCBI

More on agriculture in the Middle East:

How Food Insecurity Fuels Anger In The Middle East

Wind Turbines Cool Off Agriculture As Planet Heats Up

Organic Farms Growing In Dubai

image via ViNull

About Tafline Laylin

As a tour leader who led “eco-friendly” camping trips throughout North America, Tafline soon realized that she was instead leaving behind a trail of gas fumes, plastic bottles and Pringles. In fact, wherever she traveled – whether it was Viet Nam or South Africa or England – it became clear how inefficiently the mandate to re-think our consumer culture is reaching the general public. Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East. Tafline can be reached at tafline (at) greenprophet (dot) com, @teakettle22, http://www.facebook.com/tafline.laylin

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