Plant protection is a branch of agricultural sciences that studies biology and the ecology of crops' harmful organisms. It develops methods to control and to prevent crop damage and yield loss.
Plant protection involves disciplines that require knowledge of the biology of pests, principles of crop production, biotechnology, pesticide toxicology, and environmental sciences. Besides, plant protection is an integrated approach based on biological control strategies, population dynamics, and molecular and genetic understanding of plant-pathogen, plant- pest interactions in order to minimize damaging species' impacts upon natural environments.
The Department of Plant Protection was established in 1982 by admitting students at the B.Sc. level. The Department has been offering a Master of Science in Agricultural Entomology since 1995 and Plant Pathology since 2002. The Ph.D. program in Plant Pathology has been offered since 2013.
One of our department's assets is the ability to provide students top-ranked educational and research opportunities in a collegial and friendly atmosphere.
Mission of the Department
The mission of the department is to improve plant health in the agriculture, so as to ensure long term food security and sustainable of use natural resource. Besides, the department is engaged in quality research, education, and outreach in plant protection, with emphasis on the understanding of relationships among pests, their hosts, and the environment, and on the management of pests and diseases and other threats impacting agricultural and natural ecosystems, food safety, and human and environmental health. Our research activities are mainly in the areas of toxicology of pesticides, insect physiology, biological control of pests, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Acarology, fungal molecular systematics and phytopathology, plant-microbe interactions, plant viruses and virus-vector relationships.
The Department of Plant Protection offers undergraduate and graduate studies leading to:
- Bachelor of Science (Plant Protection )
- Master of Science (Agricultural Entomology and Plant Pathology)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Plant Pathology)
Undergraduate students must take 20 credits in general courses, 35 credits in basic courses, 35 credits in basic agriculture courses, 32 credits in major-specific courses and 18 credits in elective courses (total 140 credits) to obtain B.Sc. in Plant Protection. You can download the curriculum for the undergraduate program from here and the course description from here.
This Department offers two majors in M.Sc. level and one Ph.D. program:
Agricultural Entomology: To obtain an M.Sc. degree in Agricultural Entomology, graduate students must take at least 31credits, 24 credits from the major-specific courses, one credit is seminar, and six credits are thesis. You can download the description of the graduate courses in this major from here.
Plant Pathology: The M.Sc. program consists of at least 31 credits, 25 credits of which are coursework and six credits are thesis. You can download the description of the graduate courses in this major from here. The Ph.D. program consists of at least 36 credits, 18 credits of which are course work and 18 credits are dissertation.
Our research activities are driven by the key challenges that we face in our region or country. We do this by undertaking inter- and multi-disciplinary research, collaborating widely with colleagues across the country and the world.
- Molecular ecology and genetic diversity of plant - pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses
- Detection and molecular characterization of fungi, bacteria and viruses associated with field and horticultural crops
- The Rhizobium – legume symbiosis
- The Grass endophytic fungi
- The development and use of microsatellite markers for genetic analysis of orphan plants
- Plant Virology
- Virus- Vector interaction
- Mycology and Fungal Plant Pathology
- Insect toxicology and physiology
- Insecticide Resistance
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Biological control of pest
- Insect Ecology
- Taxonomy of insect
- Plant – Arthropod interactions
Research facilities and labs
We continually invest in resources, and improve our research facilities to ensure that our academic members and students are able to pursue their ideas and undertake research to ensure significant national impact. We have a number of special facilities that allow us to conduct a wide breadth of research on insect and plant pathogens. These facilities include entomological research and educational laboratories, plant pathology laboratories and molecular genetics laboratory.
- A dedicated, controlled environment facility for insect and plant pathogens that comprises plant growth chambers and controlled greenhouses and field farm
- Advanced light microscopy facility
- Molecular and genomic studies facility
- Diagnostic clinic which is dedicated to providing the highest quality service by providing plant disease diagnosis and pest identification, and management strategies
- Campus Biological Electron Microscopy facility
- Campus Bioinformatics Core facility
- Campus DNA Technologies and Expression Analysis Core facility