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Analyse How Plant Diseases are Detected and Identified

In this worksheet, students will analyse the visible changes in plants as they become diseased, and the tools available to identify the pathogens or deficiencies responsible.

'Analyse How Plant Diseases are Detected and Identified' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   Biology: Single Subject

GCSE Boards:   AQA, OCR Gateway,

Curriculum topic:   Infection and Response, Global Changes

Curriculum subtopic:   Monoclonal Antibodies Monitoring and Maintaining Health

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

We don’t often imagine plants getting diseased, but viruses, bacteria and fungi target them too!


Visible changes can tell us that a plant is suffering, including:


Stunted growth

Spots on leaves

Rotting or areas of decay

Growths e.g. lumps

Poorly formed stems or leaves


Infestation by insects or pests


To put things right, farmers and scientists need to identify the culprit quickly by referencing a gardening manual or website, taking infected plants to a laboratory to identify the pathogen or by using testing kits that contain monoclonal antibodies.


Not all damage is from other organisms, as plants rely heavily on mineral ions and can therefore suffer from deficiences.

Nitrogen ions are very important for protein synthesis, so that a deficiency results in stunted growth.

Magnesium ions are needed to make chlorophyll (the pigment vital for photosynthesis), and so a lack of magnesium leads to chlorosis, where the plant becomes less green.


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