PHP-21803 Plant Pathology and Disease Epidemiology (online)


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Knowledge clip0
Distance group work0
E-learning material0
Course coordinator(s)dr. JAL van Kan
Lecturer(s)dr. JAL van Kan
dr. ir. W van der Werf
Examiner(s)dr. ir. W van der Werf
dr. JAL van Kan

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

It is necessary to have followed an online course at Wageningen University before, or the special Onboarding course for distance learning. To get access to the Onboarding course, send an email to:

Continuation courses:

The DL-MSc-specializations have a fixed schedule


Note 1: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-interactions.

Note 2: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year.( -> Registration for Courses.
Note 3: The period mentioned below is the period in which this course starts. For the exact academic weeks see the courseplanning on
Note 4: This course is offered online and it takes about 20 hours to complete the weekly task. There are assignments with deadlines and non-synchronous interaction with teachers and fellow students. 

The course focuses on the interactions of plants with attackers (viruses, micro-organisms, nematodes, insects, parasitic plants), and beneficial organisms (symbiotic bacteria and fungi), as well as on interactions between beneficial organisms and pathogens and their hosts at different integration levels, from molecules to ecosystems.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- summarize molecular and physiological principles of interactions between plants and attackers;
- discuss the complexity of defence mechanisms that plants possess to (directly or indirectly) counteract attackers;
- compare different strategies and biochemical tools used by attackers to invade plants and reproduce;
- explain how symbiotic organisms interact with plants without triggering defence responses;
- understand that the trophic lifestyle of an attacker is related to the way in which it uses its genetic toolbox;
- describe case studies of plant disease epidemics in time and space (field, regional, and continental scale);
- apply key concepts in the population biology of plant diseases, such exponential growth, logistic growth, life tables, relative rate of increase, and net reproductive ratio;
- describe the effect of host genetics, crop diversity and landscape diversity on the rate of spread and population increase of plant diseases and pests;
- understand and apply basic probability models for sampling distributions of plant disease;
- formulate concepts for integrated management of plant disease on the basis of insight in epidemiology.


Reading study material, video clips, self assessments, participation in role-playing game.


The exam is an online remotely proctored exam, where the student should provide a suitable computer and room.


Available through the course website.

Compulsory for: MPSPlant SciencesMScF: Plant Breeding3DL