Plant Pathology

Person in charge: Giancarlo Polizzi

The Plant Pathology section studies plant diseases caused by biotic and abiotic agents. In addition to causing economic damage, some diseases pose a threat to biodiversity. Plant pathology is an interdisciplinary science. Microbiology, genetics, botany, molecular biology, bioinformatics, entomology, image analysis are skills involved in research and professional activity of the plant pathologist.

The Plant Pathology section studies plant diseases caused by biotic and abiotic agents. Some diseases, besides causing economic damage, pose a threat to plant biodiversity. Plant pathology is an interdisciplinary science. Microbiology, genetics, botany, molecular biology, bioinformatics, vector study, image analysis are skills involved in the professional activity of plant pathologists and research in this field, which is historically subject to continuous innovation.

The Section includes eight professors (3 full professors, 4 associate professors and 1 RTDB researcher) of the AGR/12 (Plant Pathology) sector specialized in Mycology, Bacteriology, Plant Virology.

The teaching and research activities aim to train the figure of the Plant Pathologist, a professional and researcher able to identify the pathogens (diagnosis), prevent and contrast their introduction and spread (prevention and control), reveal the molecular mechanisms of the disease (interaction-host-pathogen), study the geographical origin and movements of pathogens (biogeography and epidemiology). The main objective of the plant pathologist is to contain the economic and environmental impact of diseases through the adoption of eco-sustainable integrated control strategies.

The researchers of the Section study and work closely with farmers, combining field expertise and research work according to a continuous two-way flow of information and applications.

The Section collaborates with farms, nurseries, private companies and public agencies. The laboratories of the Plant Pathology Section are recognized by the National Phytosanitary Service according to DM 14 April 1997 (Decree n. 45565 of 24 May 2010) for the diagnosis of bacteria, phytoplasmas, fungi, viroids, viruses. The Bacteriology Laboratory is official laboratory for first level analysis of Xylella fastidiosa. To date there are several agreements with the Regional Phytosanitary Service for the diagnosis and characterization of quality and quarantine pathogens.