Plant Health and Improvement

Subject AGRI30032 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Twenty four hours of lectures, 36 hours of practicals (total 60 hours)
Total Time Commitment:

Sixty hours contact time; 60 hours directed study, assessment and readings (total 170 hours)

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

208-293 Plant Growth Processes, or equivalent

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Paul Taylor


Subject Overview:

This subject outlines the methods used to identify pathogens causing plant diseases, the consequences of diseases for plant productivity; and plant breeding techniques used to identify and capture plant traits within populations. The links between these two areas are explored as plant breeders and pathologists seek novel genetic material capable of resisting or tolerating plant pathogens. Topics covered include:
• taxonomy, identification and biology of the main groups of plant pathogens and abiotic causes of plant diseases;
• host pathogen relationships, and the nature of disease resistance and pathogenesis;
• methods to identify pathogens, and development of tools for diagnosis,
• the processes leading to plant disease epidemics and their evaluation;
• principles and methodology of plant breeding for disease resistance;
• evolutionary processes and genetic variability of plant and pathogen populations;
• world-wide distribution and conservation of plant genetic resources;
• methods of breeding self– and cross-pollinating plants;
• the management and integrated control of plant diseases.
Practical work includes the identification and diagnosis of common diseases; and the development of skills in research techniques and methodology in plant pathology.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject, students will:
• understand the importance of genetic resources;
• understand the principles and methodology of plant breeding and improvement;
• be familiar with the biology and taxonomy of the major biotic causes of disease;
• be aware of the factors leading to disease epidemics;
• be capable of diagnosing common diseases of agricultural and horticultural crops; and
• be able to formulate a practicable approach to integrated disease control in commercial plant species.


Two-hour end-of-semester examination worth 40% of final marks; a one-hour mid-semester examination worth 30% of final marks; and a 1,000 word assignment comprising a collection of plant diseases worth 30% of final marks due at the end of semester.

Prescribed Texts:

G. N. Agrios 2005. Plant Pathology. 5th ed. Academic Press, Harcourt/Academic Press, USA.

Recommended Texts:

G.L. Schumann & C.J. D’Arcy. 2010 Essential Plant Pathology 2nd Ed. American Phytopathological Society Press, USA

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:
• Capacity to tackle unfamiliar problems;
• Ability to integrate knowledge from different disciplines;
• Communication skills, through written and oral presentations;
• Quantitative analysis skills; and
• Sense of intellectual curiosity

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Agricultural Science
Production Animal Health
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED
Sustainable Production

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