PLANT PATHOLOGY is a comprehensive text that is written in a manner that facilitates the reader's learning about plant pathology. Both the writing style and the non technical English vocabulary are top notch. The text is very generously illustrated and is incredibly information-dense: Agrios does not waste the reader's time with flights of meaningless story telling or attempts at humor. During the course of reading, the reader will develop an acute awareness of the high degree of interplay between plants and their pathogens and how plants deal with pathogens. George Agrios takes a very complicated subject and makes it very comprehensible. Agrios divides complex topics into sections that are easily understood and each section builds upon the preceding sections. This process allows the reader to learn. Technical terms are not only defined, but most of the terms are repeated many times soon after their introductions. The repetition is conducive to learning. PLANT PATHOLOGY is not merely a litany of names of diseases, names of the pathogens, and possible cures. Quite laudably, in PLANT PATHOLOGY the connections between mechanisms of pathogenicity and symptoms are explained. In the chapter about plant epidemiology, Agrios mentions and briefly describes in words some mathematical models, but mercifully spares the reader from numerical computations. In the course of explaining plant pathology, PLANT PATHOLOGY teaches plant anatomy and plant physiology. An appendix listing all of the abbreviations used in the PLANT PATHOLOGY and the pages on which the definitions of the abbreviations are located would have been immensely helpful for my "stupid moments" when I could not recall the meaning of an often-used abbreviation. Did any other readers notice that Figures 4-13 and 6-11 are identical, though their captions are different? On page 193 is "roots and tuber roots." I am still confused by "tuber roots." A tuber is an underground storage stem (i.e. potato) not a root, hence my confusion with the pairing of "tuber" and of "root" as if it were an organ. There are occasional spelling errors (i.e. "aornimentals" for ornimentals [?] p. 340; "Spaerotheca" for Sphaerotheca (?) p.307; Fig.11-142 part of the diagram is labeled "annuallyon", I assumed that I had missed that term and its definition, so I searched the preceding pages to no avail. I then found "annually on" in another label of 11-142 and realized the printing error - again, confusion in the flow of learning; and "as Stratego for ruse on peanuts." Was "ruse" supposed to be rust (p. 342)? Those spelling errors confused me for a moment, but those very few errors did not substantially detract from the flow of information of the text. I did mention "ruse" because I do not know enough plant pathology to know if "ruse" is an actual plant disease or if "ruse" is just a misspelling. The internet provides no "ruse" disease, so I am left to assume that "ruse" was supposed to have been RUST. That search was unproductive time not spent reading and learning. Also on the spelling theme, bravo, Agrios! Agrios cites "oedema" as an alternate spelling of edema. Lazy American English has dropped most ligatures, so in American English, the long e pronunciation of edema (oedema) is now mispronounced as a soft e. Just when will the city in Arizona lose its o to become Phenix and then be mispronounced as "Fenn-ex"? Thank you Dr. Agrios for acknowledging the correct spelling of oedema; details matter greatly. The first 40% of the book is more or less the principles of plant pathology and the second 60% of the book is a thorough coverage of the diseases of plants: the etiologic agents, the symptoms, the etiologies of the diseases, and, when they exist, the remedies. I respect that Agrios is not afraid to say when information concerning plant pathology is not yet known. I do want to make special note of Agrios' excellent treatment of fungi and their allied groups. I had never taken Mycology in college, so I had much to learn. In a remarkably brief overview with excellent life cycle diagrams and charts, mycology and the mycological diseases were masterfully covered. I will never be able to commit all the various life cycles to memory, but I can now look at the life cycle diagrams of fungi and their allies and understand the life cycle diagrams. Some of the life cycle diagrams have 25 or more steps. As complete as PLANT PATHOLOGY is, there is no chapter about insects and mites, which mine leaves and stems, induce galls (Hessian Fly on wheat!). The herbivory of arthropods is not a disease any more than the grazing of a bovine is a disease. Also a short coming is the lack of an explanation of the colored (mostly red and purple) halos around leaf lesions. I can find no explanation of why those are the predominant colors of the halos and I am guessing that perhaps as the chlorophyll dies, the secondary pigments show, as in the colorful autumn leaves. The 6th edition needs to address this symptom of leaf pathology.
The readers paid money for the book and took the time and effort to read the book, so they deserve an error-free text. Because the professional proof readers and editors missed some errors, it falls upon the reviewers to cite the errors for future revisions and to alert future book-buyers. The following are some of the questionable passages found by this reviewer. Other reviewers will find things not listed below.
In Fig. 12-43 on p. 675 is "newon." I could find no "newon" on the internet. In another image in Fig. 12-43 is "new on" (concerning infections). Puzzle solved.
p. 685. The captions has two Cs, but no D. The first C is correctly an orange. The second C should have been D.
p. 645 Fig.12-23 D is correctly captioned as the "panoramic view," but in the text on p. 641, 12-21 C is given as the "panoramic view." Fig. 12-21 C is a bacterium.
Also to be included in a future revision is Figure 11-23 E. The 11-23 E photograph clearly shows a bleeding canker, but the caption mislabels Fig. D as the bleeding canker.
On p. 488, Fig 11-76 has no caption, G, for the photograph, G.
p. 799 The term, "thrip larvae" is used. Thrips are hemimetablous, so they have nymphs. Holometabolous insects have larvae. The differences between nymphs and larvae are many and major.
Figure 11-114 B "and on wheat"?
For Fig. 11-114, there is no caption for 11-114 E.
Page 545, the E is omitted in the caption for "cannonball-like ascospores".
On p. 645 Fig.12-23 D is correctly captioned as the "panoramic view," but in the text on p. 641, 12-21 C is given as the "panoramic view."
On p. 750 is "Phabdovius." There is no Phabdovirus in the index nor in Wikipedia. Also on p. 750 and on p. 794 is RHABDOVIRUS. The "Ph" does appear to be derived from Greek, hence a legitimate term, so time was lost trying to find what a Phabdovirus was.
On p. 800 for Fig. 14-57, the captions for F and G appear to be mixed up.
On p. 630 and p. 636 the term, bactericide, was used, yet on other pages (634, 635, 636), the term "fungicide" was used for chemicals that kill bacteria. This is a puzzling inconsistency.
Concerning the photo credits of Fig. 12-46, is it a profoundly strange coincidence that there is a "D. L. Hopkings" at the U of FL and a "D. L. Hopkins" also at the U of FL or is that a misspelling of the same name?
The first chapter of PLANT PATHOLOGY covers the history of plant pathology and the people who made important contributions to plant pathology. One very sore point for me: Charles Valentine Riley was omitted! C. V. Riley was the first state entomologist in the USA and the first federal entomologist. In regards to PLANT PATHOLOGY, which makes references to grape phylloxera (disease caused by a North American, mostly subterranean, aphid-like root parasite), it was Riley who recognized that grape phylloxera was destroying the French vineyards. At that time (1870s), phylloxera was unknown in Europe. The destruction of the vineyards caused the collapse of the French wine industry. Riley initiated the importation of many thousands of American root stocks that were tolerant of phylloxera into France, onto which American root stocks the French vines were grafted. The grafting of the few surviving French vines onto American root stocks saved the nearly dead French wine industry. Agrios chose to ignore C. V. Riley (perhaps because Riley was an entomologist, not a plant pathologist?). At Montpellier, France, the grateful people of France erected a statue of Riley for his having saved their vineyards; the French government awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor to Riley; and the grape growers gave a gold medal to Riley. As thorough as Agrios is, how could Agrios have omitted the contributions of C. V. Riley? I side with the people of France in recognizing C. V. Riley's plant pathology achievement; I do not side with Agrios in ignoring C. V. Riley. Perhaps when Agrios or someone else revises PLANT PATHOLOGY (hopefully, there will be a 6th ed.), Riley will be mentioned among all of the references to grape phylloxera and perhaps a photo of his statue in France will be included.
Overall, PLANT PATHOLOGY is a text made in heaven and I cannot recommend it enough. My apologies for such a long review, but PLANT PATHOLOGY is 886 pages of intense reading. PLANT PATHOLOGY is very much worth the time and effort to read and to study it. Agrios reveals and explains so much about which most people would never wonder, but which, when read, becomes plainly important to know.
Post Script: Sadly, I just read that Dr. Agrios died in 2010, so he will not be the person to revise PLANT PATHOLOGY. The world has lost a great scientist and teacher.
- Hardcover: 952 pages
- Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishing Co Inc; 5 ed edition (27 December 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0120445654
- ISBN-13: 978-0120445653
- Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 5.1 x 28.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 2.2 Kg
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)