The committees of the First International Conference on Frankincense and Medicinal Plants: Recent Advances in Research and Industry, continue the preparations for the conference which will be held from the 30th of October to 1st of November, 2018. According to the scientific committee, about 77 researchers from the Sultanate of Oman and abroad are scheduled to participate. About eight sessions will be held during the conference and more than 50 research papers, covering various topics, will be presented. Experienced and well known presenters have been drawn from more than 20 countries from around the world to present at the conference, including researchers from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Netherland, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iraq, Ethiopia and Sudan as well as from GCC and other countries.
In order to benefit from the conference and its knowledge and experiences, a number of researchers and specialists from organizations in the public and the private sectors have been invited to attend. These include students, faculty members, and graduates from various educational institutions, in addition to interested members of the wider community. In addition, producers of frankincense and medicinal plant products have been invited to participate in the conference exhibition by sharing their knowledge and experiences about product development.
Commenting on the forthcoming event, Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, SQU, General Supervisor of the conference and the Chair of the organizing committee, said that Oman is blessed with biological and environmental biodiversity, in terms of medicinal plants. Therefore, she continued, it is time to shed more light upon this national resource in order to undertake the necessary efforts to save and preserve it. The conference, which emphasizes the importance of medicinal plants, is being organized by various parties, including Sultan Qaboos University, the University of Nizwa, the Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center, and Qatar’s Qur’anic Botanic Garden, a member of the Qatar Foundation.
Due to increasing international interest in medicinal plants, including frankincense, so many companies and producers have appointed large funds to produce natural medical and beauty products instead of relying on chemical and artificial materials which have side effects. The conference will attract a distinguished elite of world famous scientists, as well as those interested in environmental issues and the preservation of frankincense, and manufacturers and producers from local, regional, and international companies. The conference will be the first of its kind in the field of frankincense and medicinal plants, and more than seventy scientific papers by specialists from 25 countries will be presented. A number of internationally-acclaimed scientists and researchers will present at the conference, including those concerned with the preservation and sustainability of frankincense, and regional and international producers of frankincense and other medicinal plants. The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition on frankincense and medicinal plants and other related products. The organizing committee has created a website so that all people who are interested in attending can register online (http://conferences.squ.edu.om/icfmp2018). Dr. Al-Mahrooqi concluded by stating that she believes the conference will be a great success and that it will be beneficial for Oman and other countries around the world.
Prof. Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and External Relations at the University of Nizwa, and the conference Chairman, commented, “The First International Conference on Frankincense and Medicinal Plants is taking place at a time of increasing global economic and medical attention in the area, and at a time of growing research interest in natural products in order to examine their potential uses and sustainability. Frankincense has played a pivotal role in many world civilizations, and has been described in the largest medical encyclopedias. Now, interest in frankincense is rising again because of the exceptional medical importance of this great substance. The sultanate boasts a huge variety of medicinal and aromatic plants that are distinguished by the unique environmental diversity of the Omani environment; however, frankincense remains foremost amongst these in terms of importance. It is for these reasons that the two universities and other participating organizations have decided to establish this international conference, which will be held at Sultan Qaboos University, to discuss the latest scientific, medical, physiological, chemical and the historical aspect of frankincense and medicinal plants.”
Prof. Al-Harrasi added, “A group of scientists, industrialists and specialists from 25 countries will participate by presenting a number of research papers. The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition on natural products and a poster exhibition. Ten keynote speakers will participate in the conference. In the field of frankincense and medicinal plants, the American horticultural scientist Jason Eslamieh will speak about his experience in cultivating 19 species of frankincense at two farms in Arizona and San Diego in the USA. Prof. Rene Csuk from the University of Halle in Germany will speak about frankincense acidification in order to eradicate cancer cells. Prof. Anne Osbourn will talk about chemical biodiversity in plants, while Dr. Sabina Knees and Dr. Shahina Ghazanfar will explore medical plant classification. Prof. Ermias Dagne from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia will draw a comparison between Arabic and African frankincense, and Prof. Hala Al-Issa from Qatar University will present a paper on natural pharmacy in Qatar. On the economic side, Prof. Hasnu Baser from Turkey will present a paper on the industrial value of frankincense oils, while, from a historical perspective, Prof. Efim Rezfan from Russia will present about the history of frankincense, including its old trade routes”.
Prof. Al-Harrasi concluded by stating that he hopes the conference will help link academic research with industry and create international cooperation with universities and scientific research centers which are interested in natural product research.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Sadi, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at SQU, and the Chair of the administrative and technical committees, said, “The conference is an important event which will attract scientists, researchers, producers and business owners in the field of medicinal plants. The conference will cover the different uses of medicinal and aromatic plants, chemistry and health. The scientific papers to be discussed at the conference will vary between research focusing on the diversity of medicinal plants in the sultanate and the countries of the world, the multiplication of frankincense, new varieties of frankincense, the future of frankincense, various uses of plants in medical fields and the treatment of some incurable diseases, the uses of nanotechnology in the field of medicinal plants, and the economic aspects associated with medicinal and aromatic plants and other related topics.”
The conference is expected to contribute to the exchange of information among specialists in the fields of medicinal plants, while also opening new horizons for researchers, producers and specialists in medicinal and aromatic plants.