Academic Year 2021/2022 - 3° Year - Curriculum Scienze Erboristiche e dei Prodotti Nutraceutici
Teaching Staff: Antonella PANE
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: AGR/12 - Plant pathology
Taught classes: 35 hours
Exercise: 12 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

The main goal of this course is to provide the body of knowledge on plant diseases caused by biotic and abiotic agents. Diseases reduce yield and commercial value of medicinal plants, they also cause loss of quality. Moreover, this course will provide the knowledge on the management of the main diseases of medicinal plants with an environmentally friendly approach.

Course Structure

The course will mainly consist of lectures, but laboratory exercises are planned; the activities will include i) the recognition of the main symptoms of plant diseases; ii) learning the main techniques of isolation of fungal pathogens from infected plant tissues.

Furthermore, students will be asked to prepare a report on a monographic topic chosen with the teacher which will then have to be presented during the course as a power point. This will allow students to acquire a series of knowledge related to the following aspects: a) perform a bibliographic research by consulting articles and websites on the chosen topic, taking care to select the most reliable bibliographic sources; b) prepare a report on the basis of a well-drawn outline; c) set up a power point by choosing appropriate images and structuring the slides in an appropriate manner; d) present a talk in public and answer to the questions of the teacher.

The assessment of students' learning may also be carried out elettronically, if conditions would require.

If the teaching is given in a mixed or on-line mode, the necessary changes may be introduced with respect to what was previously stated in order to comply with the syllabus.

Information for students with disabilities and / or DSA

To guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and / or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. It is also possible to ask the departmental contacts of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or DSAs), in the person of professor Teresa Musumeci.

Detailed Course Content

General aspects. Introduction to Plant Pathology. Disease definition. Diseases classification. General features of viroids, virus, phytoplasma, bacteria and fungi.

Plant disease diagnosis Koch’s postulates. Methods of diagnosis: conventional and innovative (immunological and molecular methods).

Parasitism, pathogenicity and disease development. Infectious disease cycle: inoculation, penetration, infection process, colonization, dissemination. Pathogen’s specialization: formae speciales, races and patovar.

How pathogens attack plants: microbial toxins, enzymes and proteins, growth regulators. Disease classification on the basis of the pathogenicity mechanisms.

How plants defend themselves against pathogens: preexisting structural and chemical-biochemical defenses and induced structural and chemical-biochemical defenses. Genetics of plant diseaes: variability of plant pathogens, immunity, tolerance, disease escape and true resistance: horizontal or polygenic and vertical or monogenic.

Plant disease epidemiology. Environmental factors tha affect development of epidemics.

Control of plant diseases (general aspects and definitions): prevention (exclusion, eradication), chemical methods and genetic resistance. Biological and integrated control. Drawbacks of the use of chemical control of plant diseases

Specific plant diseases. Powdery mildew, downy mildew and gray mold of grape; Chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). Main citrus disease: Mal secco, Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) and Phytophthora spp. Crown gall.

Textbook Information

Suggested Readings

1) Belli G. Elementi di Patologia vegetale. Piccin Editore, 2011 (Nuova Edizione)

2) G.L. Schumann. e D'Arcy C.J. - Essential Plant Pathology, 2nd Edition, APS Press.

Additional resources

3) Agrios N., Plant Pathology. Academic Press.

4) Buchanan B.B., Gruissem W. e Jones R.L. Biochimica e Biologia molecolare delle piante, Zanichelli Editore.