Four viruses infecting figs in Western Saudi Arabia
Many diseases are compromising fig production in Saudi Arabia and in particular those caused by viruses. RT-PCR assays were conducted on 80 samples collected from four fig-growing provinces in the West Mecca region of Saudi Arabia, including the Fatima, Khulais, Rabigh and Alshifa valleys. Samples consisted of leaf tissues taken from caprifig and common fig trees. The presence of Fig mosaic virus (FMV), Fig leaf mottle-associated virus 1 (FLMaV-1), Fig leaf mottle-associated virus 2 (FLMaV-2) and Fig mild mottle-associated virus (FMMaV) was assessed from the samples. RT-PCR results showed that all four viruses were present in the surveyed areas with different proportions of infection. Incidence was 69% of samples, with a peak of 80%, from the Alshifa and Fatima valleys, 60% from Rabigh and 55% from Khulais valley. FLMaV-1 was the prevailing virus (55% of samples), followed by FMV (34%), whereas FLMaV-2 (11% of samples) and FMMaV (6%) were less common. Most of the mosaic symptoms observed in surveyed fig orchards occurred with the presence of FMV. However, many other symptoms remained unexplained because of the arduous task of determining the involvement of other fig-infecting viruses with mosaic disease. This is the first report of FMMaV and FLMaV-2 in Saudi Arabia, and of FMV and FLMaV-1 in western Saudi Arabia. The virus status of this crop is probably compromised and a sanitation programme is required to produce healthy plant material in Saudi Arabia.
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