Introduction to Crop Protection: Plant Diseases
Namikoye, Everlyne Samita
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Plants, whether cultivated or wild, grow and produce well as long as the soil provides them with sufficient nutrients and moisture, sufficient light reaches their leaves, and the temperature remains within a certain “normal” range. Plants, however, also get sick. Sick plants grow and produce poorly, they exhibit various types of symptoms, and, often, parts of plants or whole plants diet. The agents that cause disease in plants are the same or very similar to those causing disease in humans and animals. They include pathogenic microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes, and unfavorable environmental conditions, such as lack or excess of nutrients, moisture, and light, and the presence of toxic chemicals in air or soil. Plants also suffer from competition with other, unwanted plants (weeds), and, of course, they are often damaged by attacks of insects. Plant pathology is the study of the organisms and of the environmental factors that cause disease in plants; of the mechanisms by which these factors induce disease in plants; and of the methods of preventing or controlling disease and reducing the damage it causes. Each discipline studies the causes, mechanisms, and control of diseases affecting the organisms with which it deals. Plant pathology is an integrative science and profession that uses and combines the basic knowledge of botany, mycology, bacteriology, virology, nematology, plant anatomy, plant physiology, genetics, molecular biology and genetic engineering, biochemistry, horticulture, agronomy, tissue culture, soil science, forestry, chemistry, physics, meteorology, and many other branches of science.