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Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur

Date Palm Research Institute (DPRI)

Progress Report for One Semester

Dr. Adel Ahmed Abul-Soad

Visiting Professor

I.

Work at Biotechnology and Tissue Culture Laboratory of DPRI: a. It is important to mention that I and whole team of DPRI succeeded to produce green shoots of some of elite cultivars of Pakistani dates like Dhakki and Gulistan from D.I.Khan. This has been done only in one year of time from starting the work in March 2007. Taking in consideration traditional technique by shoot tip explants of offshoots taking at least 3 years if have "Know How". The unique and novel technique, by which initial-shoots clusters of these 2 cultivars have been produced, was "Inflorescence Technique". This technique has been developed by Dr. Adel over the last 15 years of experience and been applied in DPRI. Based on our knowledge that DPRI at SAL Univ., Khairpur is the only place in the world which working by this technique simultaneously on scientific and commercial scale. It is expected by the end of next year the new run of microplants of these cultivars will be adapted at greenhouse (under construction now). It is fascinating to report that ,,Gulistan cv. population is around 1000 trees only. This number has been produced over last century by conventional method of separating the offshoots. As well as, the high price and non-availability of this cultivars offshoots made problem to increase the no. of trees throughout last few decades (personal communication with Mr. Atique, In charge of date palm at Agriculture Research Centre, D.I.Khan). Also, it has mentioned that many of Pakistani Scientists from NRC, Islamabad and other Institutes have done tissue culture work before but result was not fruitful. Actually this success couldnt be truth without the hard work of whole team at DPRI.

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b. DPRI has established cultures of 10 varieties in the lab for commercial production in Pakistan. These varieties are Gulistan and Dhakki from D.I.Khan area; Kurh; Dhedi; Kashoo Wari; Gajar; Karbline and Aseel from Khairpur and Zaghloul (the Best Soft variety in Egypt) & Barhee (Iraqi variety and one of the best semi-dry varieties in the world) from Egypt. These two varieties are kindly gifted by Dr. Adel. c. Multiplication stage of successful established in vitro shoots from Karbline variety. Few clusters of shoots are successfully produced by Organogenesis from the offshoots of Karbline variety as one of three best varieties in Khairpur. d. Carrying work on Multiplication stage of cultures produced by new advanced technique of "Micropropagation of Date Palm by inflorescence explants" during last season (March 2007). In addition, conducting research work on these cultivars to determine the Micropropagation procedure for each variety. e. Isolation and determining the actual pathogen of date palm decline trees in Khairpur as co-guide for one Ph.D student, on the remedy of unknown disease causing death to the date palms in Khairpur. The growers could not find any remedy to this disease until now. The results of last-year work have achieved successful fungicide treatment but are non-cost effective. This work is carrying out in collaboration with Tando-Jam Univ. Pathology Dept. f. Some meristems of elite crops have been brought by Dr. Adel from Egypt in kind to the Lab. These plants include Date palm shoots of Zaghloul variety, two cultivars of Banana, Pineapple and Cordylene species. This month process of last stage of micropropagation of Banana started by transplanting one thousand banana plants to greenhouse. These plants will be ready to be shifted to the open field and disseminating to the growers by next March and it is free from virus and will take only 1 year to produce fruit. II. Teaching in Botany Department: Dr. Adel is conducting theory and practical classes of three subjects i.e. (I) Molecular Biology to BS 4th Year (II) Biotechnology to M.Phil 2nd Semester and (III) Biotechnology to Ph.D 2nd Semester.

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III.

Lectures, Workshops and Meetings: 1. A meeting was held on 6th August 2008 with Mr. Atique and Mr. Abdul Quyoom Khan, Research Officers at Agriculture Research Institute, D.I.Khan in Date Palm Research Institute, Khairpur. The purpose of the visit to discuss about the progress of tissue culture for the inflorescence of two varieties that our DPRI has taken last year from there. They have visited the lab and seen their green shoots of these varieties after 1 year from starting the work. As well as, to arrange for micro- propagated plantlets of these two varieties to be cultured in their nursery to check the true to type property of these micropropagated varieties next year. Also, they will be like model for date palm growers over there. So, this will help our institute in marketing process after then. These two varieties Gulistan and Dhakki have marketing value over there and there is big and rapidly growing demand of them by the growers of date palm. Publication of Scientific Papers: One of the last 2 years work of open-field at DPRI is "Effect of thinning treatment on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of date palm cv. Aseel" finished and paper presented in ASHS annual conference at Orlando city, Florida, USA. This paper has been presented by the Director of DPRI on 23 July, 2008. One research paper on biotechnology under the title "Influence of shoot-tip callus induction medium on in vitro morphogenesis of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) inflorescence explants" has been accepted for oral presentation in the 2nd Jordanian- Egyptian Biotechnology Conference in Yarmouk University, Irbid-Jordan on 11 ­ 13 November, 2008. Co-guide for M.Phil and Ph.D Students: Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur has approved Dr. Adel as a guide for Research Students. Providing Technical and Scientific guidance to M.Sc, M.Phil and Ph.D Students at Date Palm Research Institute working on different aspects of Date Palm like Biotechnology and Plant Tissue Culture, Agricultural Practices, Pollination and Fertilization, Dates Chemical Analysis, Diseases and Pests etc.

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IV.

V.

VI.

Human Resource Development: Practical classes are going on to build up man power in Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology field for expansion of DPRI activities and its need for such students in the future.

VII. Meeting delegations who have visited DPRI: It is paramount importance to mention that Dr. Adel met and had discussion with US Consulate General, during her visit of DPRI. He met Foreign Affairs Counselor of Reading Univ., Uk, while this lady visited the host institute and discussed with her the idea about joint work with UK, Reading Univ. One group from Agriculture Res. Institute, Quetta, Balochistan has visited the lab of DPRI and discussed about future cooperation. Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Executive Director of HEC has visited the Institute and expressed about his appreciation of the real effort done by the team of DPRI. Who have led to produce Pakistani Dates by tissue culture. Dr. Naqvi suggested to go for expansion of work at DPRI. VIII. Meeting with the Date Palm Growers and Industry Section: Visit of Date Palm Orchards and meetings with the Growers are a regular venture. During visits, make suggestions to the growers. Moreover, solving some problems encountered by them in their crop. IX. Visits to Date Palm Areas in Pakistan: Dr. Adel along with the team of date palm research institute visited one of the date palm production areas at Balochistan province in July 2008 for one week. The purpose of visit was to see the different cultivars of dates in that area. The two cultivars were determined and selected for micropropagation system at Biotechnology Lab. of DPRI. These two cultivars are "Rabie" cv. representing around 90% of Mashkail oasis and other surrounded area, and "Muzawti" cv. Both cultivars have marketing value and it will be better if cultivation of these two cultivars extending to other areas of Balochistan as well. The second visit was arranged in mid August 2008 to characterize Fruit of different cultivars and select suitable and elite cultivars for micropropagation. This effort was made

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produce and spread the cultivation of high quality date palm cultivars in these and other similar areas in whole Pakistan. Interestingly these cultivars have international marketing value and can be sold outside Pakistan in the future as well.

Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Markhand Director (DPRI)

23/10/2008

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