Plant pathology applied to ornamental plants and turfgrass

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to develop the knowledge on the main diseases of ornamental species in nurseries, greenhouses, urban environments and turfgrass and the diagnostic approaches for their diagnosis. Some case studies will be treated to understand the ways in which the pathogens attack plants, the alterations, the damage caused, how they are diagnosed and the general principles for setting the appropriate methods of prevention and control.
Expected learning outcomes
Recognize the causes that can damage ornamental plants, assess their incidence, propose prevention, and control criteria in the various fields of study, respecting human health and the environment.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The course aims to provide the basic knowledge of the particularly significant diseases that affect ornamental, herbaceous and woody species, and those that make up urban green. The course also presents the diagnostic techniques employed for detecting such diseases and the strategies on which modern methods of prevention and control must be based.
In the context of the teaching program, some examples of particularly significant diseases will be considered: - Environmental factors that cause plant diseases: hight and low temperatures, wind, lightnings, and wounds. - Plant diseases caused by viruses and phytoplasmas: examples of virus and virus-like diseases of bulb and flower crops. - Bacterial diseases: bacterial rots; bacterial cankers. - Root and stem rots caused by fungi and Chromista: root rot caused by Armillaria spp.; seedling damping-off; root and stem rot disease caused by Rhizoctonia spp. and Sclerotinia spp.; root and stem rot disease caused by Phytophthora spp. and Pythium spp. - Cortical cankers caused by fungi: nectria canker. - Vascular wilts caused by fungi: Fusarium and Verticillium wilts. - Leaf and sprouts diseases caused by fungi: powdery mildews, anthracnoses, leaf curl diseases caused by Taphrina spp., foliar necrosis. - Botrytis and downy mildews rots. - Rusts. - Turfgrass diseases: root diseases (take-all root rot); foliar and root diseases (brown patch, yellow path, Sclerotium rolfsii and Pythium rots); foliar diseases (dollar spot, Helminthosporium leaf lpot, Gray Leaf Spot, Microdochium Patch, Red thread Slime mold, Snow mold, , Rusts and powdery mildew). -Wood decays and their diagnostic methods. - Trunk injection techniques.
Concerning the detection of the etiological agents of these diseases, the main steps of the diagnostic process will be explained: (i) Field surveys, sample collection and preparation for laboratory analysis. (ii) Diagnostic tools employed for pathogen detection and identification:- biological methods and microscopy; - serological methods: polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, main laboratory tests (ELISA, lateral flow); - molecular methods: nucleic acids extraction and purification; selection of target genes for molecular detection of plant pathogenic viruses, bacteria and fungi, and design of primers for amplification reactions; amplification techniques (PCR, RT-PCR, nested-PCR, Multiplex-PCR, immunocapture-PCR, real-time PCR, digital PCR); NGS (next generation sequencing) for the detection of plat pathogens. (iii) Criteria utilized for evaluating the diagnostic tools (efficiency, specificity, sensitivity). (iv) Interpretation of the obtained data and statement of the diagnostic report; diagnostic report delivery and its relationships with the compliance of legislation regulating the phytosanitary sector.
Prerequisites for admission
It is recommended to have knowledge of the bases of plant pathology; knowledge of agronomic techniques and management of the main herbaceous and arboreal ornamental plant species and turf-grass.
Teaching methods
The teachers will use: lectures, classroom exercises and laboratory trials to improve knowledge of some topics of the discipline.
Teaching Resources
The scheduled topics can be developed using the following teaching materials.
For the plant pathological arguments:
1) Notes from lessons;
2) Belli G. - Patologia Vegetale, Piccin, Padova, 2012;
3) Vannacci G. - Patologia vegetale, Edises Università, 2021;
4) Garibaldi G., Gullino M.L., Lisa V., Malattie delle piante ornamentali, Calderini Edagricole,
5) Garibaldi G., Bertetti D, Rapetti S., Gullino M.L. Malattie delle piante ornamentali, Edagricole.
9) Material available on the course ARIEL website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an oral test on the topics in the program will be based on 2-3 questions, aimed at ascertaining the achievement of the teaching objectives, the diseases of ornamental plant and turf grass, their diagnosis methods and control approaches. During the examination, descriptions or comments of images or diagrams related to the individual topics in the program may be requested.
During the year, various exam sessions are proposed during the periods set by the didactic regulation. The dates of the exam sessions are regularly and officially published, in the times and in the manner prescribed by the regulations, on the SIFA web pages.
As a rule, monthly appeals are scheduled.
Students enrolled in an exam session and who no longer wish to support it are required to unsubscribe and possibly promptly notify the teacher in the case of registration already closed.
DSA students - In order to take advantage of the facilities provided, must communicate their situation to the Unimi Disabled Office Furthermore, it is suggested to discuss with the lecturer during the frequency or during the preparation of the exam in order to have useful suggestions; in any case it is mandatory to communicate that the intention is to use the compensatory / dispensatory tools with adequate advance (at least 10 days) to the teacher to agree on the examination procedures, which remain the responsibility of the same.
AGR/12 - PLANT PATHOLOGY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
On appointment by email (in case of health restrictions on Microsoft Teams)
Second flor - Building 7, via Celoria 2, Milan
it is received by appointment
Via Celoria 2, Building 21030