GCSE and A-level Curriculum Materials

BSPP Outreach has developed materials in support of GCSE and A-level units on communicable diseases of plants. These simple and accessible descriptions of the pathogens (as single A4 sheets) have been reviewed by plant pathologists, and provide definitive information on the different disease in 2016.

The Society is a professional members organisation supporting plant pathologists working in both academia (Universities & Research Institutes) and more applied professionals (plant health officials, independent consultant agronomists, plant breeding companies, agrochemical companies etc.)

Plant Pathology may be defined as “the study of plants and their pathogens, the process of disease, and how plant health and disease are influenced by factors such as the weather, nonpathogenic microorganisms, and plant nutrition. It encompasses fundamental biology as well as applied agricultural sciences”

Knowledge of specific diseases (caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses) are cited by the following specifications (for teaching from September 2017). For those specifications which do not require knowledge of specific diseases any of the materials will help boost knowledge of the impact of communicable plant diseases and the methods used in their detection and control.

Find your named plant diseases in the lists below


Viral disease: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) 
Fungal disease: Rose Black Spot

Edexcel (Combined Science)

Fungal disease: Chalara Ash Dieback

OCR: Biology A

Bacterial disease: Crown Gall Disease (Rhizobium radiobacter)
Viral disease: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Fungal disease: Erysiphe graminis (barley powdery mildew)

OCR: Biology B, 21st century

Bacterial disease: Crown Gall Disease (Rhizobium radiobacter)
Viral disease: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) 
Fungal disease: Chalara Ash Dieback

For the OCR A level specification

Biology A – Module 4 – biodiversity, evolution and disease – the following diseases are specifically mentioned

Bacterial disease: Ring Rot (potato and tomato)
Viral disease: Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Fungal disease: Black Sigatoka (bananas)

Scottish Curriculum: 
Higher Biology: Sustainability and Interdepedence

Investigate resistance of potato varieties to Phytophthora infestans

Plant diseases can be caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses, which are often carried by invertebrates (BSPP suggests looking at Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) – transmitted by aphids)

Advanced Higher

Consider the potential socioeconomic impact of plant pathogens, such as blight (caused by Phytophthora infestans)