Plant pathology is the part of agriculture that deals with the health and wellness of plants – this includes causes, symptoms, damage, implications, and solutions to plant diseases. Similar to how a doctor is an expert in human health, plant pathologists are experts in plant health.
By focusing on diseases and studying different viruses, microbes, and bacteria, they further our understanding of how plant health functions. This knowledge is then used to treat diseased plants, develop new strains of plants, and help develop more effective pest control methods.
The study of plant disease is used in the production of food, fiber crops, and animal feed, and has a huge impact on environmental conservation. Because the field is closely related to biological pest control, it also encourages more eco-friendly solutions to agricultural problems.
In addition to increasing productivity and reducing waste, plant pathologists are also responsible for using biotechnology to improve seed quality and the nutritional value of food. They also use genetic engineering to develop pest- and drought-resistant plants.
Career Options for Plant Pathologists
Although plant pathologists primarily work on plant health and disease, they can do so in many different sectors and work alongside a variety of other specialists. This includes entomologists, botanists, farmers, plant breeders, agronomists, biological scientists, and more.
Additionally, because of the range of options available, they can choose between working for the government, consulting or working for private corporations, or even setting up independent practices. Read on to see the different directions your plant pathology career can take.
The majority of plant pathologists go into research and work in universities and government agencies and tackle health concerns, conservation, genes in plant growth, and the improvement of agricultural products. However, there are research opportunities available in the private sector as well – these usually focus on pest control and the development of insecticides. Other private sector research jobs include working for environmental charities and private trusts.
Plant pathologists going into research aren’t necessarily restricted to a lab. While laboratories and offices do make up a large portion of research environments, many research jobs consist of plant scientists working outdoors to collect samples or conduct on-site research. This includes farms, forests, and other relevant locations.
Opportunities in education involve teaching, consulting, preparing exams or course material, and supervising student research. Teaching university and college students is especially revered by some in agriculture because of the knowledge passed on to the next generation of plant scientists and agricultural professionals. Academic work can also involve publishing articles and books for use in educational settings.
Consultation for private companies is an especially lucrative field that allows plant pathologists to not only cover different areas of their discipline, but also help farmers and other companies take measures to prevent diseases in their crops.
Specialists and Product Development
Specialists are hired by private or government-funded companies and use their knowledge to develop new products. Those hired by agrochemical companies focus on pesticides and herbicides while those hired by tissue culture laboratories focus on improving and developing crop and plant strains that are resistant to disease.
Specialists can also use their knowledge of diseases to improve the production of food and are hired by food production companies and farms alike. In addition to improving methodology, they can work with crop managers to come up with strategies to maximize productivity and efficiency.
The Need for Plant Pathologists
Plant science is a field that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – in fact, it’s now needed more than ever. People are becoming more aware of their health and the environment and are demanding cleaner and greener options.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, job prospects for agricultural and food scientists is expected to increase 6% from 2019 to 2029. While this may seem like a small number, this is higher than average compared to general employment.
Climate change and human intervention in nature have also resulted in the formation of new types of plant pathogens which threaten the production of crops and food supply. The need for solutions is especially urgent because of rising populations and increased demand for food. With bacteria, protozoa, and viruses contracted regularly, plant pathologists are needed to study and find ways to combat these newfound diseases.
In addition to pathogens, crops are also threatened by pollution and other environmental factors. Plant pathologists also take these into consideration and work on finding solutions to the constant threat of food shortages.
How to Find Plant Pathology Jobs
Plant pathology may be a popular field, but this doesn’t make the job-hunting process any easier. Fortunately, services like those of Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are there to help. With us, you won’t just find job placements – you’ll establish relationships with experienced consultants who will work with you to advance your career and meet your long-term goals. Look through these open positions to find the perfect fit for you. If you need further assistance, you can always contact us or send us your CV and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
If you’re a company looking for a plant pathologist, we’ve got you covered too. Because of our expertise in headhunting in the agricultural industry, we have access to a pool of highly qualified candidates and can find you the perfect person for the job. We can help recruit candidates of all levels, from those just starting out to senior level executives.
Take the next step and get in touch with us. You can call us at 01905 345 155 or contact us using this form – we look forward to working with you!