Plant Disease Diagnosis and Mycology

Academic Year 2019/2020 - 3° Year - Curriculum DIFESA DELLE PIANTE COLTIVATE
Teaching Staff Credit Value: 12
Course Language: Italian
Taught classes: 56 hours
Exercise: 56 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

  • Phytopatological diagnosis

    Phytopatological diagnosis
    The course aims to acquire knowledge on traditional and innovative methods for the diagnosis and characterization of the main plant disease agents. The student must acquire skills in choosing the most suitable diagnostic method for the rapid and exact interce identification of pathogens in order to address the most correct methods of prevention and struggle.


    Ensuring the acquisition of a good level of basic knowledge concerning taxonomy, biology, epidemiology, diagnostic criteria of phytopathogenic fungi of important agricultural species and the knowledge of adequate strategies of disease control under field, protected environment and nurseryconditions. To this aim, students will be able to recognize the symptoms associated with the representative fungal diseases of the cultivated crops and to identify the main species of phytopathogenic fungi. The course will also provide the appropriate tools to the student to allow a continuous and effective professional updating in the field of phytopathological mycology.

Course Structure

  • Phytopatological diagnosis

    Phytopatological diagnosis
    The course will be provided by frontal lessons in the classroom as weel as laboratory exercises


    Theoretical lectures, exercises and educational visits. For the lessons we will make use of multimedia presentations, slides, computer databases, summary and explanatory diagrams in paper format that will allow us to deepen the basic concepts and the basics of phytopathological mycology. The laboratory exercises will be aimed at the recognition of diseases and the identification of fungal pathogens. Field visits and educational excursions will take place on other days and times to be agreed with the students by phone

Detailed Course Content

  • Phytopatological diagnosis

    Phytopatological diagnosis
    The course aims to provide students with the knowledge necessary for the diagnosis of the main biotic and abiotic plant diseases. The student will learn diagnostic techniques suitable to the microorganisms and phytopatogens (isolation, biological assay, serological and molecular methods for the diagnosis and characterization of bacteria, viruses, viroids and fitoplasms) as well as the implications of diagnosis techniques on disciplinary and legislation for the prevention of quarantine pathogens and detrimental to plant quality.


    Mycology in Plant Pathology

    * Topics Text
    *1. Importance of fungal diseases: economic, historical, social and geographical consequences; examples of devastating fungal diseases in history Lectures;
    Text 1: chap. 1
    *2. The infected plant: concept of plant disease, classification criteria
    of diseases, pathological morphology, symptomatology, anatomy
    pathological, physiological and functional alterations; quantification of the fungal inoculum, quantification of the symptoms of a fungal disease; determination of varietal susceptibility to a fungal disease and virulence level of a fungal pathogen
    Text 1: chap 2 and chap 5
    *3. Fungal diseases: General characters of fungi, structure
    and vegetative organization, fungal hypha, nutrition, influence
    of the environment on fungal development, germination and spore dispersal, reproduction of fungi: sexual and asexual spores;
    main symptomatic expressions; types of fungal diseases
    Text 2: chap 5
    *4. The classification of phytopathogenic fungi: classification
    taxonomic and other classifications, general characters, nomenclature, fungal structures, identification, optical and electronic microscopy, culture isolation, use of indicator plants, serodiagnosis, molecular diagnosis

    Text 1 chap 3 and 12; Text 2 chap 5 and 6; Text 3 chap 11;

    *5. Parasitism in phytopathogenic fungi: relationship between organisms, ecological relationships, symbiotic relationships: mutualism, commensalism and pathosism; trophic relationships in parasitism, parasitic specialization Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 4
    *6. Life cycle of fungal diseases: epidemiology and factors affecting the development of epidemics, different forms of epidemic and consequent control strategies Lectures;
    Text 2: chap 5; Text 3:
    chap 11
    *7. Attack mechanism of phytopathogenic fungi: the
    infection process: i) initial contact, ii) penetration mechanisms, iii) colonization mechanisms (biotrophic colonization and
    necrotrophic colonization), iv) fungal evasion
    Text 1:
    chap 6; Text 2: chap 5;
    *8. Toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins Lectures
    Text 1: chap 12; Text 2: chap 13;
    *9. Phytopathogenic quarantine fungi Lectures
    *10. Fungi used in biological control of plant diseases Lectures
    *11. Control of fungal diseases: efficacy of control means in laboratory; disease control strategies or approaches, control methods and means in the field; fungicide application and fungicide resistance; Control of soilborne fungi Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 9
    *12. Websites of mycological interest Lectures
    13. Kingdom Protozoa: diseases caused by Plasmodiophoromycota Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text 3: cap 11
    *14. Kingdom Chromista: diseases caused by Oomycota, general characters and identification. Plasmopara viticola, Phytophthora infestans, P. citrophthora e P. nicotianae and other phytopatogenic Pythium spp., Bremia spp., Peronospora spp. and Pseudoperonospora spp. Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text 3: chap 11
    15. Kingdom Fungi: disease caused by Chytridiomycota Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text
    3: chap 11
    16. Kingdom Fungi: diseases caused by Zygomycota, general characters and identification. Rhyzopus stolonifer Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text
    3: chap 11
    *17. Kingdom Fungi: diseases caused by Ascomycota, general characters and identification. Taphrina deformans, Venturia inaequalis, Glomerella cingulata (Colletotrichum), Penicillium spp., Erysiphe necator, Leveillula taurica, Sphaeroteca pannosa, Blumeria graminis, Claviceps purpurea, Chryphonectria parasitica, Botrytis cinerea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Monilinia fructigena, Monilinia laxa, Monilinia fructicola, Monosporascus cannonballus, Mycosphaerella spp.; Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text
    3: chap 11
    *18. Kingdom Fungi: diseases caused by Basidiomycota, general characters and identification. Armillaria mellea, Ustilago maydis, Puccinia spp,Sclerotium rolfsii, Rhizoctonia solani Lectures;
    Text 1: chap 12; Text
    3: chap 11
    *19 Mitosporic fungi - Diseases caused by mitosporic fungi
    (Fungi Imperfecti): general characters and identification. Phoma
    tracheiphila, Spilocea oleagina, Fusicladium (Spilocea) eryobotriae,
    Seiridium cardinale, Verticillium albo-atrum, F. oxysporum f.sp.
    radicis-lycopersici, Alternaria solani
    Text 3: chap 11
    20. Laboratory exercises: Isolation in pure culture of pathogens
    fungi; identification of some of the most important of phytopathogenic fungi; obtaining monoconidic (monosporic) cultures (colonies)
    21. Laboratory exercises: determination of the inoculum level in the soil; determination of concentration of fungal propagules; observation of the reproductive structures of fungi with an optical microscope and a stereomicroscope
    22. Laboratory exercises: use of mating types for
    diagnostics purposes; preparation and phases of freeze-drying fungi; in vitro efficacy of fungicides against target fungal pathogens

    * Essential knowledge that can not be renounced for passing the examination.
    N.B. The knowledge of the topics marked with an asterisk is a necessary but not sufficient condition for passing the exam. Responding sufficiently or even more than enough to the questions on these topics does not, therefore, ensure that the exam is passed.

Textbook Information

  • Phytopatological diagnosis

    Phytopatological diagnosis
    The teacher will provide all necessary, also by STUDIUM platform, to study covered topics. The student can consult any of the text field, for the study of the discipline we recommend the following books:
    Testo 1: G. Belli Elementi di Patologia vegetale, Piccin Editore
    Testo 2: A. Matta Fondamenti di Patologia vegetale. Patron Editore.
    Testo 3: Agrios G. N., Plant Pathology. V Edition. Elseiver Academic Press.
    Teacher notes, validated protocols, papers, legislation


    1. Matta A. Fondamenti di Patologia Vegetale. Patron Editore, seconda edizione 2017.

    2. Belli G. Elementi di Patologia Vegetale. Editore Piccin, Padova, seconda edizione 2012.

    3. Agrios G.N. Plant Pathology (5th edition). Academic Press, New York


    Other texts

    - Deacon J.W. Micologia moderna. Calderini, Edagricole.

    - Goidanich G., Manuale di Patologia vegetale. Edagricole Bologna. vol. I-IV.

    - Hartman G. Atlante delle malattie delle piante. Franco Muzzio Editore, Padova

    Teaching material and lectures supplied by the professor during the course
    Recommended sites: