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Integrating Resource Management

Plant Pathology

Plant diseases can result from parasitic micro-organisms (biotic) or non-parasitic disorders (abiotic) such as nutritional or water imbalances, environmental influences and genetic disorders.  As it is not always possible to diagnose a particular disease based on the symptoms alone, laboratory testing of the diseased tissue is essential for effective disease control.

If there is any doubt about the cause of the disease, then the whole plant should be sent to the laboratory for testing.  If this is not feasible, then the diseased tissue including leaves, sections of upper and lower stem and roots should be collected for testing.

We can identify most common pathogenic bacteria and fungi by culturing diseased tissue, and virus by using antibody assays. Depending on the nature of the disease, results can be provided within two to seven days.


aWith the development of new DNA technology, Bioscience can now look at disease causing organisms in much finer detail through the development of faster, more accurate analyses which do not require culturing. This is particularly useful to understand disease complexes, for instance in greenhouses, or where iconic trees are threatened.