History means chronological account of important
events, contributions of persons who influenced the
thinking of their era.
Pathology = Greek word 'pathos' and ‘logos’.
'Pathos' means suffering & 'logos' means the study.
HISTORY OF PLANT PATHOLOGY
Four Phases:1.Ancient period
1. ANCIENT PERIOD
Historically, plant pathology in India is quite ancient as the
Indian agriculture, which is nearly 4000 years old.
History of plant pathology is best referred from the ancient
There are references in the Vedas about plant diseases and the
methods of their control.
Such control methods have also been recorded in other books.
The events of the development of plant pathology in India are
chronologically recorded as follows.
Rigveda, (3700 BC),
Artha Shastra (321-186 BC),
Sushruta Samhita (200-500AD),
Vishnu Purana (500 AD),
Agnipurana (500-700 AD),
Vrikshayurveda (1000 A D)
In those time learned people also knew that the diseases were
caused by microorganisms.
Symptoms of plant diseases are cited in other ancient Indian
literatures viz. Jataka of Buddhism, Raghuvamsha of Kalidas
The oldest document on the use of organic materials to control
crop disorders is probably Kautilya’s Arthasastra.
Kautilya recommended that seed should be left in open for 7
days & this was the oldest reference of seed treatment with
It was Someshwara Deva who first suggested treatment of seed
with ash to ensure good germination.
Theophrastus (370-286 B.C.)
•A Greek Scholar.
• He was a disciple of Plato and
colleague of Aristotle.
• Most of his works is lost,
• Two of his books, Historia
plantarum and De Causis
plantarum used as reference of
Father of botany
He Studied and wrote about the diseases of trees, cereals
He mentioned plant diseases (rusts,mildews,blights) but
expressed that these were due to bad nutrition and air.
He was not aware that microorganisms caused diseases.
His approach was speculative rather than experimental.
SURAPAL (1500 BC)
Vrikshayurveda by Surapal (India) is the first
book in India where he gave detail account of
plant diseases and their control.
‘Vrikshayurveda’ literally means Ayurveda of
The original text of Vrikshayurveda were
unavailable till Y L Nene(Chairman,AAF)
procured it from the Bodleian Library,
Nalini Sadhale undertook the translation of
the text at Nene's request translated Sanskrit
text of Vrikshayurveda into English.
In this book, plant diseases were categorized into two groups,
Internal (physiological diseases) and external (infectious
External diseases were supposed to be due to attack of
microorganisms and insects.
Tree surgery, protective covering with pastes were mentioned and
In chemical treatments, use of honey, ghee, milk, barley flour,
pastes made from herbs, plant extracts, etc., were recommended.
For the control of root diseases, oilcakes of mahua, mustard,
sesame, castor, etc., were used.
•Also called pre-renaissance period in history
•No increase in the knowledge of plant pathology
PERIOD (17TH –MID 19TH)
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
•He was a merchant and had no formal
training at university.
•He made first simple microscope by placing
ground glasses between two metal plates.
•With this objects could be magnified upto 300
•He first observed bacteria under microscope
and after seeing that he said…
“Dear God,what marvels there are in so
small a creature”
Observed fungal spores for the first time
conducted many spore germination
studies in 1729
He published a book “Nova Plantarum
Genera” in which he gave descriptions
about 1900 species in Latin out of which
900 were fungi.
MODERN PERIOD/ GOLDEN
ERA/PATHOGENIC ERA (1800–1900)
1845, the potato crop in Ireland
was completely wiped out by
late blight disease
great famine in 1846.
resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people
of more than one and a half million Irish to United
1831 A.D - Anton de Bary (Germany)
•Established that fungi are the causes, not
result of plant diseases
•Renamed the casual organism of late
blight as Phytophthora infestans.
•He discovered heteroecious nature of
•Detailed life cycles of downy mildew
•He wrote a book named “Morphology
and Physiology of fungi, Lichens and
1876 A. D. -ROBERT KOCH
criteria for proving
parasitism “Koch’s postulates”.
of bacteriological techniques.
Causal agent of Tuberculosis.
•Father of Virology.
•He gave the theory “Contagium
•Founder of Virology
•Father of Nematology
•Contributed a lot to nematode
morphology, taxonomy and
•Father of Nematology
HISTORY OF INDIAN PLANT
Edwin John Butler (1874-1943)
of Indian Plant Pathology.
•Born in 1874 Kilkee,County clare
•He was the son of Thomas Butler(British).
•Plant pathological research started in India
in 1905 with the establishment of Imperial
Agricultural Institue at Pusa, Samastipur
•He was appointed as the first Imperial mycologist.
•His work on Phytophthora blight of potato and fusarial wilt of
pigeon pea in 1906 & 1910 were pioneer contributions.
Other contributions include his classical work on genus
Pythium and Chytridiaceous fungi.
He made extensive work on red rot of sugarcane and its control
in 1906 & 1913.
His great contribution to plant pathology in India is reflected
through the book “Fungi and Diseases in Plants” written in
About 200 diseases of Indian crops were included which he
studied in the field and in the laboratory.
This book become a classics for Indian plant pathologists.
Hence,Sir E.J.Butler is rightly credited as the “Father of Plant
Pathology in India” for laying the sound foundation of Plant
• He is commemorated by Butler Medal was initiated by the
Society of Irish Plant Pathologists in 1977.
PROF. J.F.DAS TUR (18861971)
Jehangir Fardunji Dastur
Born on 10 sep,1886 at Bhavnagar, Gujrat.
He was a colleague of E.J. Butler.
First Indian plant pathologist who was
credited for his detailed studies on fungi and
He studied the Phytophthora diseases of potato and castor
(in 1915 and 1917).
He is internationally known for establishment of species
Phytophthora parasitica from castor.
K.C. MEHTA (1892-1950)
Dr. K.C. Mehta was born in Amritsar in 1892.
His field of specialisation was Plant Pathology.
He is famous for his research regarding the recurrence of rust in
the plains in India.
In 1920 he went to Cambridge University where he worked on
the Black Rust of Cereals.
He was awarded Ph.D. degree by Cambridge University in
In 1923 he became Professor of Botany at Agra College
He made outstanding contribution to the disease cycle of
rust in india.
He was the first person to initiate studies on epidemiology of
He worked on recurrence of Black rust in the plains of India.
He concluded that the infection (uredospore) spreads from
Himalayas in the North and Nilgiri and Pallni Hills in the
He also highlited the prevalence and distribution of
several races of wheat rusts in India.
He was pioneer in establishing Flowerdale Rust
Laboratory (now under DWR,Karnal) where pathotype
analysis of rust is taken.
In his honour,this laboratory launched the Newsletter
“Mehtaensis”(named after Mehta) in 1981.
Published a monograph entitled “Further studies on
cereal rusts in India” in 1948 (Mehta,1948).
Clearly, he was a most intellectual and diligent person
who laid a strong foundation to combat cereal rusts.
DR. RAGHUBIR PRASADA
He was trained by K. C. Mehta.
Was born in 1907 in Uttar Pradesh.
Contributed a lot by identification of physiological races of
Described life cycle of Flax rust.
Also made significant contribution on Alternaria blight of
He was editing the journal Indian Phytopathology for six years
as chief editor.
Established Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology at
Udaipur in 1971.
Full name “Balachandra Bhawanishankar Mundkur”
Born on June 26, 1896,in Mundkar village
After receiving his Doctorate degree in 1931
from USA he was appointed as mycologist in
the division of mycology at IARI, Pusa, Bihar.
He started work on control of cotton wilt in Maharashtra and
reduced losses to a large extent.
His most significant contribution was establishment of IPS
‘‘Indian Phytopathological Society” in 1947 with its Journal
‘Indian Phytopathology’ in 1948.
The credit for identifying and classifying the smut fungi found in
India also goes to Mundkur.
Wrote book “Fungi and Plant Diseases” (1949).
Wrote monographs in collaboration with Dr. M. J. Thirumalachar
(I) Ustilaginales of India,
(II) Supplements of fungi of India
(III) Genera of Rusts
•Born on Sep 1914 at Malleswaram, Bangalore.
was a great scholar and knowledgeable in
various shastras in Sanskrit.
several antifungal antibiotics like Aureofungin,
Haymycin, Streptocyclin, Antiamoebin.
a new marine fungus Geotrichum marinum.
his own words “It can grow directly on the oil in the ocean &
uses oil as a C & N source.”
Conducted extensive studies in smuts and rusts.
Wrote monograph on “Ustilaginales of India, Uredinales of
the World, Physoderma, Cephalosporium.
His joint work with Dr. Mundkur on “Genera of Rusts” is a
standard reference work on Urediniomycetes.
He was twice elected president of the Indian
Phytopathological Society (1956 & 1965).
Sachindr a Nath Dasgup ta
at Jalpaiguri on Nov 4,1902.
•Started his career as reader in Botany at
the University of Lucknow.
•Carried out extensive studies on Black tip
of mango, aquatic fungi, saltation in fungi.
•A detailed study of saltation in fungi with reference to
that occuring in Cytosporina, Phomopsis and
Diaporthe was made.
•He described over 70 species of aquatic fungi.
born in Madras (Now Chennai) on
22 May 1913.
•In 1941 he took up the position of
microbiologist at the Punjab Agricultural
College, Lyallpur, now in Pakistan.
•Demonstrated the fusaric acid production
by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum.
•Worked out the mechanisms of wilting in cotton due to this
His concepts included production of toxins and
antibiotics in soil and in the rhizosphere of plants.
Started the studies on bio-chemistry of host-parasite
His most remarkable work was concept of vivotoxins.
Jaychand Luthr a and
1931 they developed Solar heat treatment
technique to control loose smut disease in wheat.
•Soak the seeds in cold water and then spread in
thin layer on threshing floor or on galvanized
iron sheets during summer in between 12.00 to
Yeshwant Laxman Nene
of Laxman and Laxmi Nene
on 24 November 1936 at Gwalior,
in ICRISAT for 22 years
also worked as an honorary Chairman of the newly founded
(1994) Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF).
earlier as Professor at GBPUA & T, during 1960’s.
He authored the book “Fungicides in Plant Disease
Reported Khaira disease of rice at Pantnagar due to Zinc
This practical problem solving research earned him an
FAO award in 1966.
He described two viral diseases (Leaf crinckle and Leaf
curl) affecting mungbean for the first time.
He made remarkable contribution in solving the mystery
of chickpea “wilt complex”.
Dr. Subr amaniam Nagar a jan
on November 1945 in Chennai,India.
•He is internationally respected as a
•He has been awarded with the Borlaug
•Due to Nagarajan's work, for the last 12 years there has
been no serious crop loss due to rust epidemics.
•Formulated ‘Indian Stem Rust Rules’ for Puccinia
•Along with his colleagues, he identified two new leaf
rust resistance genes: Lr48 and Lr49
C.D. May ee
Born in Maharashtra, India on July 15, 1946.
Director of the Central Institute of
Cotton Research (CICR) in Nagpur
Dr C. D. Mayee, Chairman,
Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB)
Former co-chairman of the Genetic Engineering
Approval Committee (GEAC).
Under his chairmanship, GEAC approved over 300
hybrid Bt cotton seeds.
“Father of Bt cotton in india”
Contributed to the understanding of groundnut rust,
sunflower downy mildew.
C.V. Subr amanian
studies on classification of
Hyphomycetes and taxonomy and
biology of fungi are widely recognized.
worked mainly on the taxonomy of
organized the first International Symposium on
Taxonomy of Fungi at Chennai.
dynamic teacher,researcher,writer at Pantnagar.
intensively on biological control & ecology of soil
a classic book on “Plant Diseases” published in 1963
which is known as Lighthouse of plant pathology in
book is also known as “Bible of Plant Pathology”.
RAJENDER KUMAR GROVER
He was born on Ist. April, 1931 at Gujaranwal, Punjab,
India (now in Pakistan).
He served as Professor and Head, Deptt. of
Plant Pathology, CCSHAU, Hisar from Dec. 1969 to
May 1974 and again from Nov. 1974 to Aug,1978.
He became Dean, College of Agriculture on
He conducted research on various aspects of plant
diseases especially on Bio-ecological interaction of
fungitoxicants for efficient disease control.
His contributions to the soil borne diseases management have
been widely recognized throughout the world.
He was member of editorial board of Indian Phytopathological
Society from 1974-76 and President of the society in 1985.
He was also President of Indian Soc. of Mycology and Plant
Pathology for the year 1988.
He passes away on 30 th. December, 2007.
He is remembered with great respect and admiration
not only by his students but also by his professional
worked on Downey mildew of Maize, Bajara and
showed physiologic specialization in Sclerospora
graminicola. He worked on several fungal and bacterial
Downey mildew of Sorghum and Pearl millet, Sorghum
Nematode, bacterial and other diseases. Published 5
books of microbiology and plant pathology and over
300 research papers.
HISTORY OF BACTERIOLOGY IN
Mak anji K alyanji Patel
• Born in Bardoli Gujarat in 1899.
•Laid the foundation of Phytobacteriology in India.
described a new species Xanthomonas
campestris pv. uppali in 1948 from host Ipomoea muricata.
documented that black spot of mango is caused by
Pseudomonas mangiferaeindicae later pathogen renamed as
Xanthomonas campestris s.pv. mangiferaeindicae.
Advocated the family Phytobacteriaceae to include all plant
Also called as “Father of Indian Plant Bacteriology”.
He described more than 30 diseases from India including
bacterial leaf spot of Cyamopsis tetragonaloba, bacterial leaf
spot of Amaranthus viridis.
Jeevan Pr ak ash verma
major contribution was on
Xanthomonas campestris pv. malvacearum
causing bacterial blight of cotton.
led to a solid foundation to Indian Phytopathology
and cotton bacteriology.
reported that thickness of cell wall play a
prominent role in gram reaction.
wrote 16 books including a book on Bacterial Blight
reported about complex nature of Tundu disease of wheat.
is caused by a bacterium, Corynebacterium tritici and a
nematode, Anguina tritici in 1952.
causal agent of ring disease of potato as
1959, he first reported Xanthomonas punicae pv. punici
causing bacterial blight of pomegranate.
worked at CCS Haryana Agricultural University
Contributed a lot on host-plant resistance to various
diseases of legume crops.
Y. S. Kulk arni
on bacterial leaf spot of castor, stem
canker of Pigeon pea.
Also first demonstrated biological control of
bacterial wilt of potato using antagonistic
CONTRIBUTIONS IN PLANT
First observed virus particles in sunhemp mosaic disease.
He observed all leaf-hopper borne plant viruses are
transmitted in a persistent manner except Rice tungro virus
work on molecular biology in India which led to
understanding of disease caused by begomo, nano,poty
viral diseases of legumes and their management.