Plant Diseases

Course content

The biology of the viruses, bacteria and fungi causing plant diseases

Introduction to:

  • The concepts symptomology, aetiology, pathogenicity, taxonomy and diagnosis
  • The molecular, cellular and genetic aspects of pathogenicity and disease resistance
  • Basic ecological and epidemiological principles in relation to the establishment and spread of plant diseases
  • Plant disease control measures (disease management and chemical control)
  • Prophylactic measures, e.g., disease resistance, forecasting and legislation  
  • Up and coming control measures, e.g., biological control and induced resistance
  • Post harvest diseases and food safety
  • Case studies of plant diseases in agriculture, horticulture and forestry

BSc Programme in Natural Resources

Learning outcome

The course gives a basal understanding of how microorganisms interact with plants and each other. Secondly, introduces the methods used to study these interactions.
On completing the course, the student should be able to:


  • Describe the types of organism causing plant disease
  • Describe the mechanisms underlying the interactions of pathogenic microorganisms with plants and the basic biology and relationships of these organisms
  • Describe how the mechanisms influence the ecology of microorganisms and the development of plant diseases
  • Describe the mechanisms involved in plant responses to microorganisms


  • Explain the biological and environmental components that determine host/pathogen interactions, including the cellular structures and genetic elements.
  • Evaluate how the knowledge gained can be applied to defeating pathogens and minimise the consequences of plant diseases
  • Reflect on the ethical aspects of using biotechnology and pesticides for controlling diseases



  • Discuss and disseminate knowledge of plant diseases to both specialists and non-specialists

The basic concepts of plant diseases and their study are illustrated through lectures. The students will work with the concepts and discuss in groups through colloquia and theoretical excersises to understand the problems associated with understanding and controlling plant diseases. Hands on experience will be gained through practical exercises

Specific information will be provided on Absalon

  • Schumann,G.L. and D'Arcy,C.J. (2009) Essential Plant Pathology. Saint Paul: APS Press. ISBN 978-0-89054-381-8


  • Hockenhull, J., Danielsen, S., de Neergaard, E., Thomsen I. Illustrated Atlas of Fungal Plant Pathogens (Illustrated by N. Leroul).

A set of this will be available at the practical exercises

supplemented with primary literature, course notes and a laboratory manual as a reference

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Excursions
  • 0
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Colloquia
  • 30
  • Practical exercises
  • 42
  • English
  • 206