Plant diseases

Experimental visualization of narrower problems

Plant disease can be simply defined as any deviation from normal vegetative health and growth; and more scientifically as an injurious physiological process caused by the continued irritation of a primary causal factor, exhibited through abnormal cellular activity and expressed in characteristic pathological conditions called symptoms.

Some diseases can be attributed to inanimate and nonparasitic factors such as adverse environmental conditions. Physical and mechanical damage brought about by violent storms, improper cultivation practices, etc, besides being disastrous in themselves, may prepare the way for widespread infection by other disease agents. Living agents such as insects not only interfere directly with plant metabolism, but also frequently carry other disease agents from plant. A number of economically important disease-causing factors are plants themselves: bacteria and fungi. Algae are responsible for some relatively unimportant tropical plant diseases. Among flowering plants only a few forms are of occasional importance. Several slime moulds, numerous viruses and nematodes are also important agents of plant disease.

The symptoms of plant diseases may be death (necrosis) of all or any part of the plant, loss of turgor (wilt), overgrowths, stunting, or various other changes in the structure of the plant. A rapid death of foliage is often called blight, whereas localized necrosis results in leaf spots. Necrosis of stems or bark results in cankers. Overgrowths composed primarily of undifferentiated cells are called galls, or, less commonly, tumours. Chlorosis (lack of chlorophyll in varying degree) is the most common nonstructural evidence of disease. In leaves it may occur in stripes or in irregular spots (mosaic). These symptoms grade into one another and overlap. Often two or more bacteria, fungi, viruses or a combination of them together attack a plant to produce much greater damage than that resulting from a single agent alone. Furthermore, a plant which is already suffering from a deficient environment is more susceptible to attack by such agents.


Plant diseases have always caused substantial reductions in the yield of many economic crops and are a continuing threat to all of them. For example, in 1958, 70% of the production costs of a large fruit company in Central America were expended in controlling banana diseases. In addition to the actual losses in production caused by plant diseases, there also have been violent fluctuations in crop yields. When crops were in short supply, prices went up; when large plantings were made to allow for losses that never occurred, there was a superabundance of crop with a corresponding fall in prices and disturbance in economic balance. Worldwide losses from plant diseases have not been estimated but in the USA alone the cost of crop losses due to disease as long ago as 1951-60 has been estimated to be more than 3,250 million dollars annually, or 7% of the potential production.

International Council on Grapevine Trunk Diseases (ICGTD)
International Council for the Study of Virus and Virus-like Diseases of the Grapevine (ICVG)
Global Plant Council
International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP)
International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT)
International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS)
International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (IOS)
Arab Society for Plant Nutrition and Fertilization (ASPNF)
Arab Society for Plant Protection (ASPP)
Asian Association of Societies for Plant Pathology (AASPP)
Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS)
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO)
European Plant Science Organization (EPSO)
Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB)
International Association of Plant Biotechnology (IAPB)
International Parasitic Plant Society (IPPS)
International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ICMAP)
North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO)
Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO)
Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA Association)
Regional International Organization for Plant Protection and Animal Health (RIOPPAH)
Societas Physiologiae Plantarum Scandinavica (SPPS)
South East European Development Network on Plant Genetic Resources (SEEDNet)
Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP)
Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC)
Euro+Med PlantBase
Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)
European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR)
International Plant Nutrition Council (IPNC)
International Plant Growth Substances Association (IPGSA)
International Soil and Plant Analysis Council
SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC)
European Foundation for Plant Pathology (EFPP)
European Technology Platform 'Plants for the Future' (Plant ETP)
International Aquatic Plants Group (IAPG)
People and Plants International (PPI)
Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation
Planta Europa
Plant Research International (PRI)
Plant With Purpose
Plantlife International
Mediterranean Phytopathological Union (MPU)
Medicine Pathology
Plant Life Plants
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST