79430 - Advanced Plant Pathology And Entomology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course will provide basic knowledge related to the interactions occurring between plants, pest and pathogens that will allow to understand how pathogens attack the plants and hijack their defences, how the plants perceive the pathogens and react to infection. This knowledge will provide tools to perform diseases diagnosis and to design innovative, sustainable and tailored control methods to prevent plant disease spreading or to reduce their impacts. Ability to understand the research process in Plant protection and particularly in insect pest control. Reduce pest insect populations adopting sustainable techniques and to avoid negative side effects of pesticides. Ability to recognize and identify beneficial arthropods. Plan a field crops management utilizing Ecological Compensation Area and know the concepts of conservation biological control.

Course contents

The advanced plant pathology course (3 CFU) will provide:

1) basic knowledge on pathogen taxonomy and on plant-pathogen interactions (1 CFU, 10 hours of lessons);

2) key concepts of disease diagnostic and epidemiology in order to recognize the disease agents and their epidemiologic cycles (1 CFU, 8 hours of lessons plus 2 hours of seminar and discussions on plant materials collected by students);

3) basic elements to formulate a correct diagnosis, based on symptoms and on analytical procedures, application of the acquired knowledge for the analysis of specific disease cases (1 CFU, 10 hours pf of laboratory training for the different plant pathogens: bacteria, virus, fungi).

The advanced entomology course (3 CFU) will deal with the following topics:

1) problems related with the introduction of alien insects in new areas; (1 CFU = 6 hrs of front lectures and 4 hrs of complementary activities, namely discussions on case studies with the students , visit to laboratory rearing of selected exotic insects and their insect antagonists);

2) sustainable control methods of insect pests: biology and mass rearing techniques of entomophagous insects; biological control with entomophagous insects; use of pheromones (2 CFU = 12 hrs of front lectures and 8 hrs of complementary activities, namely laboratory activities, seminars held by experts, discussions on case studies with the students).


For advanced plant pathology: selected chapters from Agrios G. Plant Pathology, Academic Press. Handout material and specific publications made available online.

For advanced entomology: lecture slides made available online. For further reading: van Emdem HF – Handbook of Agricultural Entomology, Wiley-Blackwell; Gullan P.J., Cranston P.S. – The Insects: An Outline of Entomology, Wiley-Blackwell, Chapter 16 (Pest Management) and Chapter 17 (Insects in a changing world).

Teaching methods

For advanced plant pathology: discussions about specific topics related to diagnosis of plant disease (symptomatology, etiology, plant sampling).Trainings in laboratories, equipped with all the necessary facilities to perform analytical assays. Visits to farms/ greenhouses.

For advanced entomology: front lectures and seminars held by experts. Laboratory exercises on the insect rearing.

Assessment methods

For advanced plant pathology: final oral exam with 3 questions: one about a pathogen, one about a pathogenic mechanism and one about a diagnostic methodology. Each question give max 10 points.

For advanced entomology: final oral exam comprising a presentation (5 minutes) of a topic selected by the student, related with the course contents (10 points) and 2 questions on the course contents (10 points each).

Teaching tools

Computer and projector, symptomatic/symptomless plant materials, laboratories equipments. Entomophagous insects reared in climatic chambers; equipment for the development of insect diets.

Office hours

See the website of Assunta Bertaccini

See the website of Maria Luisa Dindo