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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Plant diseases: mod. 2 forest pathology
Code: G240KB
Teacher:  Marco Saracchi
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3,75
Practices in classroom: 1,25
Basic aims:  The course supplies the fundamental knowledge on the different pathogenic agents, how they attack the plants and the kind of alterations and damages that can induce in the hosts. Il also deal with the fundamental principles necessary to set up the modern methods of prevention and pest control especially on diseases connected with natural environments and cultures typical of mountain habitats.
Acquired skills:  To recognize the different agents that can damage cultivated and spontaneous plants, to weigh their dangerousness and to propose preventive measures and criteria of pest control that can be adopted by different kind of agriculture managements preserving natural environments and human health.
Course contents:  The concept of disease in plants. Disease classification. Characteristics of plant pathogens (infectious and non infectious agents). Parasitism and disease development. Plant disease epidemiology. Control of plant diseases: genetic, cultural , chemical , and biological approaches. Different examples of disease will be considered, in particular those connected with natural environments and cultures typical of mountain habitats.
Program:  The course teaches the students what causes plant diseases, how they develop and spread. It covers the biology, epidemiology, ecological and economic importance, diagnosis and management of the most commonly occurring diseases giving students concepts of plant pathology of forest, shade trees and cultivated species. Emphasis is placed on the fundamental concepts associated with plant pathology. Lectures regard the following subjects: The concept of disease in plants, classification of plant diseases, importance of plant diseases in crop production. Characteristics of plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, viruses and phytoplasmas. Parasitism and the different stages in the development of diseases. Plant disease epidemiology: the element of an epidemic; structure, development and patterns of epidemics; Principles of plant disease control: control methods that exclude, eradicate or reduce tha pathogen inoculum; direct protection of plants from pathogens by chemical and biological control. Lectures concern important diseases affecting important plant species characteristic of mountain agriculture and woods: - Environmental factors that cause plant diseases: temperatute, soil moisture, soil structure, light, air and soil pollutants, and wounds. - Plant diseases caused by viruses and phytoplasmas: poplar mosaic; elm and celtis yellows - Plant diseases caused by bacteria: crown gall; bacterial cankers; fireblight of rosaceous hosts; bacterial diseases of poplar and walnut. - Root diseases caused by fungi: seed rot; Phytophthora foot, crown and trunk rots, ?ink disease?; root and butt rot caused by Armillaria spp. and Heterobasidion annosum. - Vascular wilts, stem rot, stem and twig cankers: canker stain disease of plane tree, resin bleeding and canker of Cupressus spp.; Dutch elm disease; various twigs cankers. - Foliar diseases: powdery mildews, anthracnoses, leaf curl diseases, downy mildews. - Rusts: stem rust of wheat and other cereals; rusts of forest trees. - Wood rot and decays caused by basidiomycetes.

During the ex-cathedra lessons will be treated some of the examples of the disease in the course of exercises in the classroom, students will develop some with the help of the teacher and the rest, always included in the program, they will be left to the individual student study.

Topics addressed by the students, individually or in small groups, during exercises and all documents produced will be shared with the other course participants and may be subject to verification in the examination.
Prerequisites:  Students have to know fundamental principles of biology and botanical aspects of plant species frequently observed in our habitats
Preparatory instructions:  none
Learning materials:  Notes from the lectures.
Belli G. - Patologia Vegetale, Piccin, Padova, 2012.
Capretti P., Ragazzi A., Elementi di patologia forestale, Pātron Editore, Bologna, 2009.
Matta A.- Fondamenti di Patologia Vegetale, Patron Editore, Bologna, 1996
Agrios G.N. – Plant pathology – Academic Press.
Moriondo F., Introduzione alla Patologia Forestale UTET.
Other info:  Exam: final oral examination
The oral examination consists of an interview on the topics in the program, designed to measure the basic knowledge of plant pathology and the application of such knowledge to examples of diseases, which are also included in the program, in order to assess the student's ability to evaluate individual aspects of plant diseases and to propose interventions in order of their containment.
Program of Plant diseases: mod. 2 forest pathology (pdf version)
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