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Plant Pathology

Course CodeBHT206
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Distance Learning Course in Plant Pathology Science

  • Become skilled at diagnosing and understanding plant diseases.
  • Enhance your career or job prospects in horticulture or farming
  • Improve your ability to grow plants
  • Understand the science of plant disease

Plant production is reduced significantly every year, due to pathological problems. To control these problems is to increase productivity, and for the horticultural business; that means increased profit margins.

PLANT PATHOLOGY IS NOT simply a study of pests & diseases. Some pests are in fact not pathological problems, and there are pathological problems which are not pests or diseases.

PLANT PATHOLOGY is about problems in plants caused by physiological damage or irritation at a cellular level. It is concerned with problems which affect parts of the plant cell, leading to malfunctions in the normal processes which occur

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Overview of plant disease
    • Diagnosis of problems: nutritional, environmental, pathological
    • Symptoms
    • Common terminology
  2. Types of Diseases
    • Morphological changes
    • Necroses
    • Hypoplases
    • Hyperplases
    • Types of pathogens: viruses, bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, nematodes
    • Techniques for diagnosing plant diseases: optical equipment, preparing pathogens for observation, culture methods, inoculation, etc
    • Plant viruses; detection and diagnosis
    • Plant nematodes
    • Case study: Australian plant nematodes
    • Main types of diseases
    • Spots
    • Rots
    • Cankers
    • Galls
    • Mildews
    • Rusts
    • Moulds
    • Wilts
    • Scabs
    • Others
    • Using a key to diagnose diseases in plants
  3. The Lifecycle of a Disease
    • Inoculation
    • Penetration
    • Infection
    • Growth and reproduction
    • Dissemination
    • Methods of penetration by bacteria and nematodes
    • Lifecycle of nematodes
    • Fungal biology
    • Role of insect spreading fungal and bacterial pathogens
  4. Control Techniques
    • Sanitation
    • Resistant Plant Varieties
    • Biological Controls
    • Soil Drenches/dips
    • Chemical Controls
    • Nematicides
    • Soil fumigants
    • Contact poisons
    • Fungicides and the environment
    • Systemic fungicides
    • Misters, dusters, blowers, sprayersSpray maintenance and cleaning
    • Natural controls: cultural, physical, biological, etc
    • Terminology
  5. Selected Pathogen Diseases Ornamentals
    • Fungi affecting turf
    • Phytopthera cinnamomi
    • The process of tree decay: Shigo
    • Case study: how phytopthera cinnamomi kills a susceptible Eucalyptus
    • Peach powdery mildew
    • Rose powdery mildew
    • Honey fungus on rhododendrons and azaleas
    • Petal blight on rhododendrons and azaleas
  6. Selected Pathogen Diseases Crops
    • Sclerotinia rot in vegetables
    • Nematodes and citrus production
    • Citrus diseases: scaly butt, lemon crinkle, citrus canker
    • Brown rot
    • Fire blight
    • Apple fruit rot caused by trichoderma harzianum
    • Prunus necrotic ringspot virus in cut flower roses
    • Potato and tomato blight
    • Club root
  7. Non-Infectious Diseases
    • Nutritional disorders
    • Lack of water
    • Excess water
    • Other environmental problems
    • Disorders caused by man: mechanical damage, pollution
    • Case Study: Air pollution
    • Other disorders: genetic, disturbed growth
    • Non parasitic turf problems
  8. Special Project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe a range of pathological problems that affect plants.
  • Describe symptoms of a range of diseases that affect plants.
  • Describe disease life cycles and explain how this knowledge can be applied in disease control
  • Explain the methods used to control diseases
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of a particular plant pathogen.
  • Identify and describe a range of non-infectious diseases and problems that affect plants
  • Identify and describe a range of common pathogens that affect ornamental plants.
  • Identify and describe a range of common pathogens that affect crop plants

 

The first part of the course develops an understanding of the different types of problems which can occur and how to identify them.

Terminology is covered in some depth, so as to enable the student to be able to read & understand books & articles written about plant diseases. Other major topics of study include "symptoms" (ie: Necroses, Hypoplases, Hyperplases, etc), "types of pathogens" (ie: Viruses, bacteria, fungi, Nematodes, etc), and the life cycle of a disease.

The second part of the course looks at how to control pathology problems. The major methods of controlling pathogens (ie: Sanitation, resistant varieties, biological controls, soil drenches & chemical sprays, etc) are all studied, along with types of equipment & safety.

The third part of the course looks at some of the most common plant pathology problems in commercial horticulture, how to identify them and how they are controlled.

Some of the problems studied include cinnamon fungus, tree decay, powdery mildew, nematodes, brown rot, blights, turf fungi, damping off and non infectious problems such as temperature burns, air pollution, wind burn and excessive light.

The course is a highly practical one involving as much time in practical/field work as it does theory.

No prior formal training is required, though anyone undertaking this course is expected to have some experience in horticulture (either having worked in the industry or having studied in some related discipline.

 


 

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