Diagnosis of Diseases of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants

Course content

Plant diseases cause huge losses in plant production every year. As a prerequisite for controlling these diseases, it is necessary to be able to identify the causal pathogens, especially if sustainable crop protection strategies will be applied.

The course will introduce commonly occurring plant diseases in agriculture, horticulture and orchards etc. Hands-on experience with classical and web-based methods used in identifying causal organisms and diagnosing the diseases will be given. The course will focus on practical diagnostics of material collected by the participants. In addition, an introduction to molecular pathogen diagnosis is offered. Assessment of crop damage in the field and how to take samples for further studies will be discussed.


The participants learn:

  • How to diagnose plant diseases - step by step - using classical practical methods (including web-based tools)
  • How to identify pathogenic fungi, bacteria and virus from their pathogen morphology, hosts and host symptoms
  • How to describe, characterise and assess damage in the field and how to take samples for identification of the causal agents of disease
Learning outcome

The course deals with plant disease problems in agriculture, horticulture (greenhouses, orchards and field crops and other production systems if possible) and forestry with special reference to North European conditions.

The main aim of the course is to obtain hands-on experience in diagnosis of plant diseases.


After completing the course, the participants should be able to:



  • Describe symptoms caused by plant pathogens
  • Describe plant pathogen morphology
  • Identify and classify plant pathogens based on morphology
  • Obtain an overview of the most important groups of plant pathogens
  • Describe, characterise and assess damage in the field
  • Process diseased plant samples for further studies
  • Understand the theory behind molecular techniques for identification of microorganisms



  • Use common tools for identifying plant pathogens, incl. web-based ressources
  • Apply principles for diagnosis of plant diseases based on disease symptoms and pathogen morphology
  • Communicate diagnostic results



  • Become familiar with symptoms of important plant diseases found under natural conditions
  • Work with diagnostic methods
  • Use microscopy to study plant pathogen structures to diagnose diseases
  • Cooperate with fellow participants when conducting the diagnosis and reporting the results
  • Critical appraisal of web-based information tools
  • Obtain an overview over different pathogen groups and their most important characteristics

The course consists of short theoretical introductions to specific topics and problem-based studies including field collections, identification of pathogens and diagnosis of plant diseases using keys, manuals and microscopes. Most of the work is carried out in groups of two participants supervised by the teachers. An excursion is included.

Handbooks and manuals will be available

Competences equivalent to an introductory course in plant pathology/plant diseases

• Before start, the participants should anticipate one week preparation time
• The course takes place at Campus-Frederiksberg, but visit Campus-Tåstrup regularly, as it is dependent on plant material from the field
• A free shuttle bus runs between Campus Frederiksberg and Campus-Tåstrup
• Participants are strongly encouraged to contact the course responsible for updates before course start

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Continuous evaluation of individually prepared diagnosis reports during the course (weight: 80%) plus a minor report handed in two days before the end of the course (weight: 20%). Presence at least 75% of the teaching time is a requirement for passing the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Oral exam in full curriculum

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 6
  • Preparation
  • 31
  • Theory exercises
  • 15
  • Practical exercises
  • 70
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Project work
  • 4
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • English
  • 138


Course number
Programme level
Week 27 and 28
Intensive summer course
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Hans Jørgen Lyngs Jørgensen   (3-6e70754676726b7434717b346a71)

Birgit Jensen

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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