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Plant Pathology

Plants, one of the major source for maintaining a healthy environment, has numerous functions and it provides a lot for the sustainability of life. Just like humans and animals, plants can also be affected by infectious diseases and get feeble. These diseases are caused by living organisms called plant pathogens which include fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasitic plants. They can also be caused by non-living abiotic components such as air pollution, nutrient deficiencies and various environmental factors. Plant diseases are constant threat to the world's food and fiber crops, forests and landscape plants. So it is very important to keep the plants healthy as it is the base of our food chain and hence comes the significance of plant pathology. Plant pathology, also known as phytopathology, deals with the study of diseases in plants and is one of the sub branches of plant protection science. Plant protection science is the branch of agricultural science which studies the ways to keep plants healthy by protecting them from various damages especially with an aim of higher production. Plant entomology or entomology (the study of insects), plant nematology or nematology (the study of nematodes or roundworms) and weed sciences are the other sub braches of plant protection science. Plant pathology is an apt career for those who have a keen interest in agricultural and biological fields. The studies in plant pathology mainly focus on plants mounting; understanding the organisms and agents that cause diseases; how the plants are affected by the diseases and how to control plant diseases. The field of plant pathology is interrelated to other biological fields such as microbiology, mycology, biochemistry, bio-informatics, virology etc. People who specialize in the field of plant health is termed as plant pathologist. Professionals in the field of plant pathology deals with plants as well as insects, fungi, virus, phytoplasmas like bacteria and parasites that causes diseases in plants. The major task of a plant pathologist is to keep the plants healthy by preventing, controlling and stopping the diseases infected by them and for this, they have to develop innovative ways. They try to control the disease by useful methods such as developing medicines, altering the conditions in the environment etc. Graduation or post graduation in biological science with required personal skills such as analytical and observation abilities will help an aspirer to start a prospective career in plant pathology. Eligibility Those who have a keen interest in agricultural or biological science can take up plant pathology as their career. This field offers a variety of career options. Graduate courses in botany, microbiology, horticulture, soil science, crop science, genetics, ecology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology etc. will give a fair idea about plant pathology. Some B.Sc. courses offer plant pathology as an area of specialization. Several agricultural universities offer specialized B.Sc. graduation courses in plant pathology or plant protection. The eligibility criteria for all the above mentioned graduate courses are 10+2 or equivalent with physics, chemistry and biology with minimum of 50 % marks. Selection is based on merit and some reputed agricultural universities admit candidates through entrance examinations. After graduation, one can specialize in the field of plant pathology by taking masters and doctoral degrees. Graduation with more than 60% marks is required for taking up Master's degree and post graduation with a minimum of 60% is required for doctoral (Ph.D.) programmes. Admission to PG course is based on the performance of the candidates in the All India Combined Entrance and State level Entrance Examinations conducted separately. All India Entrance is held regularly by the ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and it also provides Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) scholarship to students. Entomology (the study of insects), nematology (the study of nematodes or roundworms) and weed sciences are some areas associated with plant pathology and one can pursue courses in these specialized subjects to become an expert plant pathologist. To join as a plant pathologist or for the post of agricultural research scientist in various concerned departments of the state and Central Governments, candidates have to qualify the 'Combined Entrance' conducted by various state and central recruitment agencies from time to time. Besides that, aspiring candidates can take up ARS NET exam (Agricultural Research Service and National Eligibility Test) to work as Lecturer in various agricultural universities and their affiliated collages. Course Areas : During the course period the students will learn about different kinds of pathogens and their identification, the disease cycle, how to resist the diseases, how these diseases impact other living organisms such as human beings and animals, the economic impact and management of plant diseases etc. Personal skill: Plant pathology is a profession which requires lot of hard work and high level of patience, along with many years of study. The most important skill needed is none other than passion for the profession. Analytical and research skills, communication skills, ability to understand and express their ideas are the major attributes needed for a plant pathologist. Essential qualities needed are good observation skill i.e a keen eye for detail, ability to work along with a team and to take decisions independently. Plant pathologists should be very confident; be aware and prepared for taking up challenges; and be updated with all recent scientific developments regarding the field.

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