Credits: 4 (3 lecture hours, 3 lab hours)

Terms Offered: Fall

Instructor: Anton Baudoin

Prerequisites: Biology 1105 and 1106, or 1005 and 1006, or equivalent


Introduction to plant pathology as a science and a crop protection discipline. Plant disease diagnosis, biology and identification of plant disease causing agents, factors leading to disease build-up, and management of plant diseases. Diseases of specific crops will be studied as examples.

The course contains 3 sections:

  1. Lecture, on general principles
  2. Laboratory exercises on techniques, diagnosis, etc.
  3. Guided self-study of diseases of crops of interest to individual students.

Lecture Topics:

  • Overview of plant pathology; plant disease definition; crop losses; pathogenic agents.
  • Plant disease diagnosis: principles (Koch's postulates) and practical procedures
  • Disease symptoms, and what they tell us about causes
  • Disease development; life cycles and disease cycles
  • Overview of methods of plant disease control
  • Fungal plant pathogens: characteristics, classification, identification
  • Soilborne diseases caused by fungi
  • Foliar diseases caused by fungi
  • Prokaryotes: characteristics, classification, identification
  • Plant diseases caused by bacteria
  • Plant diseases caused by fastidious prokaryotes
  • Plant viruses and viroids: characteristics, classification, identification, transmission, and control
  • Plant diseases caused by viruses and viroids
  • Plant nematodes: characteristics, classification, identification, problem detection, and control
  • Plant diseases caused by nematodes
  • Diagnosis of abiotic conditions that cause plant "diseases" (or disorders)
  • Miscellaneous plant pathogens: protozoa, algae, higher plants
  • Physiological aspects: pathogen weaponry and plant defense
  • Plant disease management -- a general approach
  • Plant disease resistance: development, characteristics (genetics), and use.
  • Epidemiology and plant disease control
  • The role of chemicals in plant disease management; when and how to use
  • Plant disease control -- summary

Laboratory Topics

  • Microscope use; symptoms and signs, fungal vs. bacterial
  • Symptoms and signs; diagnosis
  • Pathogen culturing: media preparation, sterile technique, isolation
  • Study of fungi, the diseases they cause, and the structures by which they can be diagnosed:
    • Lower fungi and Oomycetes: PhytophthoraPythium, downy mildews
    • Ascomycetes and Imperfect fungi
    • Basidiomycetes
  • Damping off
  • Fungal foliar infection, anthracnose, rust
  • Fungicides, protectant and systemic
  • Bacterial diseases and pathogens: recognition, diagnosis
  • Koch's postulates
  • Viruses and the diseases they cause: diagnosis, transmission
  • Nematodes: sampling, elutriation, identification
  • Nematodes: root knot and cyst
  • Diagnosis of unknown specimens.

Disease of specific crops (Disease Notebook)

Students (individually or in small groups) engage in self-study of diseases of crops that are important to THEM. Student performance will be evaluated based on individual notebooks and an oral exam. Examples of study areas:

  • Golf course turf, plus some woody ornamentals
  • Landscape woody ornamentals, bedding plants, some turf
  • Greenhouse production
  • Nursery ornamental production
  • Fruits and/or vegetables
  • Field crops
  • etc., including combinations

Studies could involve the following activities:

  • Preparing a NOTEBOOK, based on literature material (reference books, extension publications, etc.) and results of the activities below
  • Collecting and diagnosing fresh disease specimens
  • Diagnosing clinic specimens and preserved specimens
  • Attending occasional presentations by guest specialists
  • Field trips, organized and/or informal
  • Interviewing crop pathology experts, growers

Other Information: