Philippine Agriculture and Resources Research Foundation, Inc.
Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is one of the popularly consumed vegetable in the country. it is commonly used as an ingredient in dishes and as a alternative medicine for common health concerns. In recent years, market prices of garlic surged drastically due to high demand and insufficiency of local supply. Due to this, the country relied on the importation from other countries, that are significantly bigger in size and lower priced. In order to reduce the reliance on importation, strategies were formulated in order to boost the production and the quality of garlic produced in the country. One of these strategies is to produce Disease-free planting materials used by farmers. Disease-free planting materials can be obtained, if proper plant disease identificaton and detection systems are employed during mass-production. Information obtained can also be used to employ effective measures in the prevention of spread and occurrence of plant diseases in the field. Potentially, this can increase the quality and quantity of produce, in turn reduce the reliance of importation.
Plant diseases, such as viruses, can significantly affect the plants overall yield and performance. Thus proper identification is necessary in order to formulate strategies to reduce and control the spread of the disease . Using Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) provides a more accurate and efficient disease identification and detection for RNA-based virus compared to traditional methods identification and detection. The project aims 1) to adopt and optimize RT-PCR protocols in the identification and detection of viruses affecting garlic in the Philippines, and 2) detection of virus in the mass production of virus-free planting materials of garlic using tissue culture technology.
Based on the current results, there are three (3) genera were found in garlic in the Philippines, namely, are allexivirus, carlavirus, and potyvirus. These viruses were found in most of the cultivated varieties garlic used as planting materials by farmers and in the harvested field produce. Single or multiple virus infection may occur at any given time. Multiple virus infection may significantly affect the overall performance and yield potential, compared to plants infected with a single virus.
As a result of the virus detection, virus-free planting materials of ‘Itbayat Red’, ‘Itbayat White’, and ‘Ilocos White’ varieties of garlic were obtained and currently being mass produced through tissue culture. This will enable farmers to gain access to virus-free planting materials that will aid in the control spreading of viruses withing the farm.