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Master's Degree Plant Pathology / Plant Protection with specialization in Plant Pathology.

Exam Pattern

The examination consisting of 120 questions to be attempted in a duration of 2 hrs (120 minutes) will have three parts:
Part A-20 items pertaining to general knowledge in agriculture and allied sciences / reasoning ability + Part B-50 items from core group containing the specialized subject for Ph.D. + Part C-50 items from the specialized subject for Ph.D.



Unit 1: History and Principles of Plant Pathology

Milestones in phytopathology with particular reference to India. Major epidemics and their social impacts. Historical developments of chemicals, legislative, cultural and biological protection measures including classification of plant diseases. Physiologic specialization, Koch’s postulates. Growth, reproduction, survival and dispersal of plant pathogens. Factors influencing infection, colonization and development of symptoms.

Unit 2: Laboratory and Analytical Techniques

Preparation and sterilization of common media. Methods of isolation of pathogens and their identification. Preservation of microorganisms in pure culture. Methods of inoculation. Measurement of plant disease. Detection and Diagnosis of pathogens in seeds and other planting materials: Nucleic acid probes, Southern, Northern and Western hybridization, ELISA, ISEM and PCR. Nucleic acid probes, Southern, Northern and Western hybridization, ELISA, ISEM and PCR. Laboratory equipment and their use: autoclave, hot air oven, laminar flow, spectrophotometer, electrophoresis, light and electron microscopy, incubator, ultracentrifuge, ELISA Reader, Freeze dryer, Nano drop, GC-MS, HPLC, Thermocycler.

Unit 3: Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology

Altered metabolism of plants under biotic and abiotic stresses. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis: elicitors, recognition phenomenon, penetration, invasion, primary disease determinant. Enzymes and toxins in relation to plant disease. Mechanisms of resistance, Structural and Biochemical defense mechanisms. R-Genes, Phytoanticipins. Phytoalexins. PR proteins, Hydroxyproline rich glycoproteins (HRGP). Antiviral proteins. SAR and ISR. HR and active oxygen radicals. Elementary genetic engineering. Management of pathogens through satellite, antisense - RNA. Ribozymes, coat protein, RNA interference, plantibodies, hypovirulence, cross protection. Useful genes and promoters, plant transformation techniques, biosafety and bioethics.

Unit 4: Mycology

Classification of fungi (According to the Classification - Kirk et al., 2008). Life cycles of important phytopathogenic fungi. Economic mycology, edible fungi and entomogenous fungi. Mycorrhizal associations. Cell organelles, their morphology, functions and chemical composition.

Unit 5: Plant Bacteriology

Identification and classification of bacteria. morphology, ultrastructure and chemical composition of prokaryotic cell in relation to function. Growth curve, nutrition and auxotrophic mutants. Resting cells in elementary bacterial genetics and variability: transformation, conjugation, transduction. Biology of extra chromosomal elements: plasmid borne genes and their expression. Bacteriophages: lytic and lysogenic cycles. Prokaryotic inhibitors and their mode of action. Economic uses of prokaryotes. Morphology, biochemical characteristics, reproduction and life cycle of phytoplasma and other fastidious prokaryotes.

Unit 6: Plant Virology

Nature, composition and architecture of viruses and viroids. Properties of viruses. Nomenclature and classification of viruses. Variability in viruses. Satellite viruses and satellite RNA. Mycoviruses and baculoviruses. Assay of plant viruses including biological, physical, chemical, serological and molecular methods. Conventional and biotechnological techniques used in detection and diagnosis. Behaviour of viruses in plants including infection, replication and movement. Histopathological changes induced by viruses in plants, inclusion bodies. Transmission of viruses: virus - vector relationships.

Unit 7: Plant Disease Epidemiology

Concepts in epidemiology. Development of disease in plant population. Monocyclic and polycyclic pathogens. Role of environment and meteorological factors in the development of plant disease epidemics. Survey, surveillance (including through remote sensing), and prediction and forecasting of diseases. Epidemic analysis and prediction models. Crop loss assessment: critical and multiple point models. Decision support system, cloud computing, GPS, GIS and GS in plant disease epidemiology.

Unit 8: Phanerogamic Parasites and Non-parasitic Diseases

Diseases caused by Phanerogamic parasites and their management. Diseases due to unfavourable soil environment, drought and flooding stress etc. Nutritional deficiencies. Primary /secondary air pollutants and acid rain.

Unit 9: Fungal Diseases of Crop Plants

Fungal diseases of cereals, millets, oilseeds, pulses, fruits, vegetables, plantation, fiber, spices, medicinal and ornamental crops with special reference to etiology, disease cycle, perpetuation, epidemiology and management. Postharvest diseases in transit and storage; aflatoxins and other mycotoxins and their integrated management.

Unit 10: Bacterial and Viral Diseases of Crop Plant

Crop diseases of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, sugar crops, vegetables, fruits, plantation and fiber crops caused by bacteria, viruses, viroids, phytoplasmas and other fastidious prokaryotes. Mode of transmission and pathogen vector relationships. Epidemiology and management.

Unit 11: Management of Plant diseases

General principles of plant quarantine. Exotic pathogens and pathogens introduced into India. Sanitary and phytosanitary issues under WTO, TRIPS and PRA. Genetic basis of disease resistance and pathogenicity: gene for gene hyphothesis; breeding for disease resistance. Production of disease free seeds and planting materials. Seed certification. Chemical nature and classification of fungicides and antibiotics: their bioassay and compatibility with other agricultural chemicals; resistance to fungicides/ antibiotics; effect on environment. Spraying and dusting equipments, their care and maintenances. Important cultural practices and their role in disease management, solarization, integrated disease management. Microorganisms antagonistic to plant pathogens in soil, rhizosphere and phyllosphere and their use in the control of plant diseases; soil fungistasis. Plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria. Biotechnology for crop disease management.

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