Plant Diseases: A Primer on the Nemesis of Every Farmer (Part I)

Plants, as well as any other living organisms, are susceptible to diseases. These plant diseases
refer to anything that disrupt the normal growth and modifies the vital functions of plants.

When infected by diseases, the quality and final yield potential of each crop are compromised.


In order to produce high yields and healthy produce, farmers have been constantly finding ways
to prevent and eliminate the diseases from their crops.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, an estimated
20 to 40 percent of global crop yields are reduced every year due to the damage of plant pests
and diseases.

Furthermore, almost half of the yield losses of the crops for human consumption is caused by
plant diseases.

Due to this alarming reason, farmers should be well-equipped with the right knowledge,
products and technology for them to prevent diseases from harming their crops.

The “Roots” of Plant Diseases

There are a lot of factors to be considered for a certain disease to occur. It can depend on the
presence of a specific pathogen, weather condition, and the plant’s characteristics.

Every plant disease occurs depending on the nature of its causal agent which can be classified
as infectious or non-infectious disease agents.

Infectious disease agents, otherwise known as biotic disease agents, are the living
organisms which are able to spread out the disease from one plant to another causing
an “epidemic”. These living organisms are usually referred to as pathogens.

These are the Common Types of Plant Diseases to Watch For

Types of Pathogens

Fungi: The majority of plant diseases is caused by fungi, making it the most common
type of pathogens.

Bacterial Plant Pathogen: Bacteria that cause plant diseases can spread by rain,
wind, birds, insects and even by us, humans. They are very difficult to control. It’s
better to prevent the spread of the bacteria than to cure the infected plants.

Viruses: These are transmitted through sap, by a vector (insects), soil-borne
nematodes, protozoa, seed and pollen

Non-infectious disease agents are those non-living environmental factors which affect
the proper management of plants. These can be storms, winds, extreme temperatures,
drought, flood, or polluted soil and water.

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