Plant Infection and Disease Management

Course content

Sustainable management of plant diseases.

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.

Chemical products are often used to control plant diseases, but their can be different problems related to their use. However, there is a range of other possibilities to reduce, alleviate and avoid crop diseases, not related to chemical control. These options can be used both in conventional as well as in organic farming to obtain a sustainable crop 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:

  • Damage caused by diseases in terms of yield loss and product quality (including mycotoxins)
  • Epidimiological factors influincing diseases
  • Infection processes of plant pathogens and host defence responses
  • Seed health and pathology
  • Post-harvest diseases
  • 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 disease control
  • Alternative means for disease control including induced resistance, biological control and biopesticides (biologicals, e.g. microorganisms and plant extracts)
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) of diseases


The course addresses several UN development goals, with emphasis on how to obtain food security and safety in a sustainable way (goals 2,3) and how to protect the environment whilst producing crops (goals 13, 15)


MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Environment and Development

Learning outcome

The participants are expected to gain a broad biologically based understanding of plant disease development and management strategies and how disease problems can be reduced using a range of different non-chemical approaches under different conditions. After completing the course the participants should have acquired the following:


  • Describe interactions between pathogens and hosts from pathogen establishment in the host to interactions at population level
  • An overview of principles of sustainable disease management strategies, based on knowledge of pathogen biology under varying cultivtion conditions



  • 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



  • Theoretical background for solving plant disease problems in agricultural and horticultural crops and communicate the results to specialists and non-specialists
  • Consider and discuss potential ethical problems arising during control of plant diseases, for example human and environmental hazards
  • Ability to evaluate scientific literature critically as for quality, methods, data and conclusions
  • Make use of digital scientific information search incl. reference management

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
Written assignment
Oral examination
Type of assessment details
Oral examination, 20 min with no preparation time.
Examination in a topic within the course curriculum and questions to the literature review.
The grade consist of the assessment of examination of literature review, prepared during the course, (50%) and examination within the course curriculum (50%).
Exam registration requirements

Have made at least one presentation of a paper at one of the journal club sessions and have acted at least once as a discussion leader at one of the other journal clubs. Submission of literature review (written in a group).

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examinars

The re-exam is as the ordinary exam, - assesment of a litterature review and an oral exam (20 minutes, no preparation time.

If the exam registration requirements are not met, a new literature review must be handled in three weeks before the re-exam, and there will likewise be an oral examination (20 minutes, no preparation time).

The grade consist of assessment of literature review prepared during the course (50%) and assessment of oral examination (50%).

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


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
No limitation – unless you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
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   (3-6a6c7142726e6770306d7730666d)

Hans Jørgen Lyngs Jørgensen
Birgit jensen

Saved on the 19-02-2024

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