Plant Infection and Disease Management

Course content

Plant diseases caused by fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens constitute a major challenge for crop production, destroying crops, reducing yields and sometimes poisoning the products. Disease problems are encountered everywhere, from large-scale farms in temperate regions to smallholder farms in tropical regions.

There is a range of possibilities to reduce, alleviate and avoid crop diseases and they can be used both in conventional as well as in organic farming to obtain a sustainable production. The course will go through the different possibilities for disease management, based on an understanding of the biology and behaviour of the pathogens. Examples from both tropical and temperate settings are included as well as from horticultural and agricultural crops.

The course include the following topics:

  • Infection processes of plant pathogens and host defence responses
  • Seed health and pathology
  • Disease resistance and how it is managed including different types of resistance and cultivar mixtures
  • Cultural control measures, with emphasis on crop rotations, tillage (incl. conservation agriculture), fertilisation and intercropping
  • Chemical control
  • Alternative means for disease control including induced resistance, biological control and biopesticides
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) for diseases

MSc Programme in Agriculture

MSc Programme in Environment and Development

Learning outcome

The participants are expected to gain a broad biologically based comprehension of plant disease development and management strategies. After completing the course the participants should have acquired the following:


  • Describe host-pathogen interactions from pathogen establishment in the host to interactions at population level
  • Give an overview of principles of proper management strategies, based on knowledge of pathogen biology



  • Analyse a disease problem and suggest adequate principles of management of plant diseases based on knowledge of the pathogens and their interaction with the host



  • Apply theory and solve plant disease problems in agricultural and horticultural crops and communicate the results
  • Discuss potential ethical problems arising during control of plant diseases, for example human and environmental hazards

Methods will include lectures, journal clubs, group work, and report writing based on a literature review of a selected topic

Review articles and primary literature. Information will be available on Absalon.

Basic knowledge about plant pathology

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Students will be assessed on the basis of a portfolio of deliverables from individual contributions in journal club presentations, discussion leader role, the group report and the final group presentation of the report
Weight: The final grade will be based equally on the individual level of participation and quality of the contributions to the journal club presentations and discussion leader role as well as on the group report and group presentation
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See the learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Class Instruction
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 45
  • Project work
  • 85
  • Guidance
  • 15
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206