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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory - module 1
Code: G-02BA
Teacher:  Piero Attilio Bianco
Year:   
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 2
Practices in laboratory:  1
Basic aims:  The main objective of the course is to supply the information requested for performing the diagnosis of the plant diseases. Based on the topics described during the lessons and the laboratory trainings, the student will optimize his capability to select the work strategy suitable to formulate the diagnostic report.
Acquired skills:  Identification of main symptom patters of plant diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas, viruses, and viroids; (ii) competence in challenging the diagnostic process steps: field surveys, sample collection and preparation for the laboratory analyses; (iii) Utilization of diagnostic tools employed for pathogen detection and identification (biological and traditional methods, serological methods, molecular analyses); (iv) employment of the criteria utilized for evaluating the diagnostic tools (efficiency, specificity, sensitivity); (v) interpretation of obtained data analyses and statement of the diagnostic report.
Course contents:  Introduction and basic concepts in plant pathology diagnostic. Overview on main symptom patters of plant diseases. The diagnostic process: field survey and anamnesis; collecting activities (sampling criteria and modalities); plant sample storage and transport; sample preparation for laboratory analyses; criteria to select the suitable technique(s) for pathogen detection; evaluation of the analytical process; data interpretation and diagnostic report formulation.
Diagnostic report delivery and its relationships with the compliance of legislation regulating the phytosanitary sector.
TRAININGS: Field surveys focused on case studies.
Program:  Basic concepts in diagnostic of plant diseases will be described. In particular, main symptom patters of plant diseases associated with fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas, viruses and viroids will be illustrated.
Main steps of diagnostic process will be explained: preparation of specialized examination (preliminary circumstantial consultation of literature); overview of the case study; investigation on the examined area and its agronomical management; anamnesis through acquisition of documented and testimonial information; the collecting activity [choice of the significant sample: selection of the sampling date and the collected tissue in terms of quantity and typology (leaf, root, etc...)]; storage, transport to laboratory and conservation of fresh plant samples; sample preparation for microscopy analyses; based on observed symptoms and possibly associated pathogen, choice of appropriate sample preparation method for serological assays (preparation for ELISA assays) and/or molecular analyses (nucleic acid extraction); criteria to select the suitable technique(s) for pathogen detection (this topic will be discussed more accurately in the module 2 of the course); evaluation of the analytical process; data interpretation and diagnostic report formulation.
Diagnostic report delivery and its relationships with the compliance of legislation regulating the phytosanitary sector will be described.
TRAININGS: Elements determining the decisions made during the diagnostic process and to formulate the diagnostic report will be analyzed in applied experiences on field surveys focused on case studies.
Prerequisites:  It is recommended that the students have a knowledge of the plant pathology basics. In fact, it is requested the knowledge of the main features of the plant pathogens (not accurately explained during this course) for understanding the topics illustrated throughout the lessons.
Preparatory instructions:  No preparatory exams are mandatory, but it is recommended to attend this course after the exam in plant pathology.
Learning materials:  Powerpoint slides showed during the course and supplied scientific papers.
Other info:  The exam will be carried out as oral exam together with the professor of the course module 1. Therefore, the students have to know the topics described in both the modules during the lessons and the laboratory trainings.
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Program of Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory - module 1 (pdf version)
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