Principles of plant protection

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
AGR/11 AGR/12
Learning objectives
To provide basic knowledge on the causes of cultivated and spontaneous plant diseases, on diagnostic techniques, on the disease development, and on the criteria to design control strategies. Moreover, the course will provide knowledge on arthropods in various agroecosystems, and on environmental management techniques in a sustainable development context.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will:
- know the main characteristics of the most important plant pathogens, and of their interactions with the host plant, and know how to apply this knowledge for crop protection.
- know the main strategies used for crop protection and the characteristics of the most important fungicides.
- know the main problems related to arthropods in agroecosystems, of active ingredients for their control and strategies for their application in crop protection.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
During the Covid-19 Emergency the exams will be kept via Microsoft teams software: the student may require the oral exam in attendance by completion of self-certfication form
Prerequisites for admission
The knowledge of plant and animal biology, botany, microbiology and a basic comprehension of ecology is desirable.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Unit 1: Entomology. During the course there will be no intermediate tests. The final exam is an interview aimed to assess the acquisition of learning objectives and expected learning outcomes. It consists of an interview on the topics included in the program and the evaluation is expressed in thirtieths. Two questions will be asked, the first on topics of the parts 1, and 2) of the course syllabus. The object of the second question will be among topics of the points 3), 4), or 5) of the course syllabus. The score will be assigned on the basis of the understanding of the topics and the correctness of the language.
The topics covered in the exercises are not evaluated during the final exam.

Unit 2. Plant pathology. During the course no intermediate tests will be performed. The final exam will consist of an interview with the aim to assess the acquisition level of learning related to the objectives and the outcomes of the course. Two questions will focus the interview: the first on the fundamentals of plant pathogens and their interactions with the host plant (parts 1,2 and 3 of the program). A second question will concern on diagnosis, prevention and plant disease management (parts 4, 5, and 6 of the program) .
Plant pathology
Course syllabus
The course aims to provide information on plant pathogens their effects on the crop production and to supply knowledge for the low impact containment of the plant diseases.
1. Main concepts underlying the study of plant pathology and the general criteria for plant protection against the plant disease agents.
2. Concept of plant disease and of disease triangle. Host susceptibility, virulence and host-pathogen specificity. Evolution of environmental conditions for plant pathogen adaptation to climate change
3. Classification of plant diseases and their categorisation: nutritional, auxonic, vascular lytic, necrotic and wood diseases. Disease symptoms: color alterations, anatomic modifications, different kinds of alterations. Crop loss evaluation and damage assessment. Koch's postulates and their application.
4. Aetiology of plant diseases: Fungi, bacteria, viruses and viroids. Taxonomy and classification, diagnosis, epidemiology and containment strategies.
5. Case studies of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases focusing their impact on the environment.
6. Plant protection: exclusion, eradication, resistance, therapy, cultural practices, chemical and biological control. Chemicals used in plant protection: general characteristics and problems related to the pesticide residues. Main fungicide products and fungicide resistance.
Teaching methods
The 4 credit course will be carried out in classroom (3 ECTS), followed by a practical activities in laboratory (0,25 ECTS), exercises in classroom (0,25 ECTS) and field (0,5 ECTS). The lectures will be addressed to the topics reported in the description of the course syllabus. The exercises in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field are aimed at providing a practical knowledge of what has been studied during the lectures, by means of experimental inoculations , recognition of symptomatology using examination of photographic material and diseased plants. A visit at a grapevine growing area will serve to focus the current problems occurring for the plant protection. Attendance at the course is not mandatory: nevertheless the presence at the lessons is highly recommended .
Teaching Resources
The reference book "Elementi di Patologia vegetale (G. Belli, Piccin Ed. ) supports knowledge and learning for all the given subjects The presentations, bibliography, video and sitography exposed durung the lessons will be uploaded on Ariel Platform e available for attending and not attending students.
Course syllabus
Part 1) Introduction
- The Phylum Arthropoda
Part 2) General concepts of entomology
- Morphology: head, thorax, abdomen. Mouthparts.
- Anatomy: the integument. Internal systems: digestive, excretory, circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, exocrine, nervous and reproductive systems.
- Biology: reproduction, postembryonic development (moulting / metamorphosis, age / stage, holometabolism, hemimetabolism), mimicry, diapause, interactions with host plants (resistance, pathogen transmission).

Part 3) Elements of insect population ecology
- Population structure and processes.
- Life tables.
- Population fluctuations (r and K Strategies in r and K-selective development environments). Population dynamics (analysis of key factors, exponential and logistic growth).
- Estimating the size of a population (sampling techniques and sampling plans).
Part 4) Management of arthropod populations
- Pest management strategies and the consequences of pesticide spraying.
- Concepts of economic damage and economic thresholds.
- Integrated Pest Management, the concepts of agro-ecosystems and Key Pest.
- Using alternative means to chemical control: functional biodiversity, biological control, pheromones (mass trapping, attract and kill, mating disruption), Sterile Insect Technique, Insect Growth Regulators.
- A case study agro-ecosystems, the vineyard.
Part 5) Insects as biological environmental indicators
- The measurement of biodiversity, with particular reference to agricultural entomology
Classroom, laboratory and field exercises on topics listed in the course syllabus will be kept amidst lectures.
Teaching methods
The course is set both in lectures, which account for a total of three ECTS, and in classroom (0.5 ECTS), laboratory (0.25 ECTS) and field (0.25 ECTS) exercises. The topics reported in the description of the course syllabus will be addressed In the lectures. The exercises in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field are aimed at providing a practical knowledge of what has been studied during the lectures, by means of 1) dissections of specimens, 2) recognition of taxonomic groups of interest, 3) examination of photographic material and prepared specimens, and 4) a detailed examination of a vine growing area.
The topics covered in the course syllabus provide the student with knowledge on i) how Arthropods interact with the environment, ii) how to estimate their presence and impact and iii) the direct and indirect effects of arthropod populations management methods. In this way the student will be able to properly manage Arthropod populations. Furthermore the student will be able to organize information collection and analysis and consequently choose the appropriate management measures. The knowledge of the specific terminology will also allow the student to properly interact with his/her collaborators.
Attendance at the course, although not compulsory, is recommended.
Teaching Resources
Part 1), 2), 4), and 5) of the course syllabus
Gli Insetti e il loro controllo. F. Pennacchio - Liguori Editore, Napoli.
Entomologia applicata, volume 1. E. Tremblay - Liguori Editore, Napoli.
Lineamenti di Entomologia. P.J. Gullan, P.S. Cranston - Zanichelli, Bologna.
Part 3) of the course syllabus
Insect Ecology. An ecosystem approach. T.D: Schowalter - Academic Press (available on line). Chapters 2 through 6.
Whole course syllabus
Lecture slides and notes
These materials are intended for both attending and non-attending students.
AGR/11 - GENERAL AND APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY - University credits: 4
Field activity: 4 hours
Practicals: 8 hours
Laboratories: 4 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Plant pathology
AGR/12 - PLANT PATHOLOGY - University credits: 4
Practicals: 8 hours
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Monday from 10 to 12 am
Building 21070 (former Patologia vegetale)
Monday 14.30-15.30