Academic Year 2020/2021 - 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


    The teaching course aims to ensure the acquisition of basic knowledge of taxonomy, biological aspects and diagnostic criteria of the "key" phytopathogenic fungi. The student will acquire skills in identifying the most effective control strategies both in the nursery and in the open field and in professional updating for this area.


    The course aims to provide students with the fundamental knowledge of Plant Virology useful for the recognition, prediction, prevention and complex management of diseases caused by virus and virus-like agents that affect the quality and quantity of plants.

Course Structure


    Teaching course includes theoretical lessons for a total of 28 hours and other practical activities (classroom and laboratory exercises, educational visits, seminars, etc.) for also a total of 28 hours. If teaching is given in a mixed formula or remotely, necessary changes may be introduced to what was previously stated in order to comply with the provided and reported syllabus. Frontal lessons and 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 a better undertsanding of 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 (095-7147413). Learning assessment can be done remotely if necessary.


    The teaching will be done through lectures (28 hours) for the acquisition of basic knowledge together with laboratory exercises, case study discussions as well as educational visits to companies in the agri-food sector to develop the ability to apply basic knowledge (28 hours).

    If teaching is given in a mixed formula or remotely, necessary changes may be introduced to what was previously stated in order to comply with the provided and reported syllabus. Learning assessment may be done remotely if necessary.

Detailed Course Content


    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: Plenodomus tracheiphilus, 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.


    The Course aims to provide and deepen the general and basic knowledge of Plant Virology and virus-like diseases. The specific deepening of the characteristics of these pathogens will be aimed at studying the implications on pathogenetic processes and epidemiology, diagnosis, management and damage containment. Within the case studies will be treated the most important diseases from viruses and virus-like agents, with particular reference to phytosanitary emergencies and pathogens at risk of introduction, and the legislative frameworks related to prevention and phytosanitary management.

    -General knowledge on virus and virus-like pathogens.

    -Specific mechanisms of colonization, movement, pathogenesis, transmission, epidemiology.


    -Principal methods of diagnosis

    -Methods of loss prevention and containment. Phytosanitary legislation.

    -Specific case studies for the main crops

Textbook Information


    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: www.apsnet.org.


    For the study of the discipline, with particular reference to the basic topics, the following texts are recommended:

    1) G. Belli. Elementi di Patologia vegetale, Piccin.

    2) L. Bos. Plant viruses, unique and intriguing pathogens, Backhuys Publishers Leiden

    3) AA.VV. I principali virus delle piante ortive. Edagricole.