Career in Agriculture

Introduction and Career in Plant Pathology


Plant Pathology, as name portrays that it deals with the study of plant diseases including crops, vegetable, fruits, ornamental etc. Before going deep to discuss the underpinnings of subject Plant Pathology and what opportunities exist when one thinks about career in plant pathology, let us start by looking at the definition of Plant Pathology.

What is Plant Pathology?

Plant pathology is simply the study of the diseases and problems that cause the plant to suffer in terms of health that not only affect growth and development but also the production losses occur. Diseases or ailment here can be considered as the harmful changes in plant body that impact normal functioning of body functions and cause deviation in physiological processes. These are caused by any pathogenic and infectious agent. The harmful agents may include a virus, fungus, a parasite or a bacterium that occupy plant body and affect it.

Importance of Plant Pathology

Most of the researchers and plant pathologists study the diseases that affect the crop plants. Why? This is because the increase in global population has forced the agriculturists to produce more food specifically on commercial scale to meet the demand of food and keep the world a food secure place for humans. However, with the increase in population and food production, there are several new varieties of harmful agents that have evolved over the time that affect plants and especially the crops. As human security is dependent on crops plants; so most of the focus in plant pathology is given to crops.

The plant diseases that directly affect crops have also shown indirect but deep impact on human civilization. A hundred and 50 years ago (150 years ago), Europe faces the worst disease of potato blight fungus of potato crop that devastated the potato crops especially in Ireland. This resulted in to 1 million deaths and about 1,500,000 emigrations from Ireland alone.

Similarly, hundred years ago, a fungus Hemileia vastatrix also known as coffee rust fungus ruined the fields of coffee in today’s SriLanka. The damage was so swear that coffee plantation was replaced by tea plantation. More recently, fifty years ago, brown spot on rice caused by Cochliobolus miyabeanus, caused death of thousands from starvation in today’s Bangladesh.

The devastation and problems occurred by pathogens has increased of plant pathology. In the modern world of today, the importance of plant pathology has increased many folds. This is because the changing climate of the world has also introduced new varieties of crop and plant pathogens that are unknown few years ago. Sincere efforts and attention is required now address the advancements in plant pathogens if we want to have food secure world and population.

Career in Plant Pathology

A professional degree in Plant Pathology can be obtained after high school. Normally four year degree programs are offered in plant pathology that opens several job opportunities for plant pathologists. To me, career in plant pathology opens challenging as well as learning horizons for the plant pathologist. Here in this section of the article, I am going to discuss few important opportunities when you choose career in plant pathology.

Colleges and Universities

A good scope of job is present in colleges and universities when one chooses career in plant pathology. Research, teaching, and extension are three important domains that can be chosen by a plant pathologist. There is always room for research and based on that research, plant pathology teacher can introduce the students with new advancements in plant pathology. Good salary packages are given to teachers, however, salary may vary for college and university teacher.

Agricultural Consulting Companies

The next best option in career in plant pathology is working as a consultant for agricultural consulting companies. The salaries are good based on skills a plant pathologist has. These companies help firms and farmers in combating against diseases in their field plants or crops.  

Agro-chemical companies

The medicines develop by agro-chemical companies are vital in catering plant diseases. These agro-chemical companies require the services of plant pathologists not only in developing new pesticides and herbicides but also exploring new and innovative ways of controlling plant diseases.

Tissue Culture Laboratories

Next in career in plant pathology is the job opportunities in tissue culture laboratories. Research is required to design disease tolerant crop and plant varieties and for this, these laboratories provide the platform for the plant pathologists to carry out research and innovations in the field of plant pathology.

International Agricultural Research Centers

This is a dream opportunity to work with international research fellows and scientist to learn from global experience in the field of plant pathology. The salaries are surely high, however the demand for work and skills are also high. This platform provides a good path for the scientists to work in collaboration to explore solution of common problems in plant diseases domain.  

Private Practice

Staring a private business is always a good option. Though it requires some investment and marketing campaign, however, once you establish yourself as professional plant pathologists, the rate of return on investment and your skills are huge.  

Other Job Options When You Choose Career in Plant Pathology

There are numerous other job options when you choose career in plant pathology. I am enlisting these other options below;

  • Diagnostic Laboratories
  • Biological Control Companies
  • State Departments of Agriculture
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Environmental and Patent Law Firms
  • Garden and Nurseries Centers
  • Public Policy Organizations
  • Lawn and Landscape Maintenance Firms

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 21). Introduction and Career in Plant Pathology [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

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