The increasing rate of disease incidence resulting from devastating effects of plant pathogens, limits crop productivity globally, thus affecting food security. The current global population growth with many mouths to feed is dependent on vibrant agricultural productivity. The effects of globalization, climate change, evolution of pathogens and vectors to mention a few, have combined to increase spread of invasive plant pathogens. Consequently, early detection of pathogens, accurate diagnosis and assessment and surveillance are imperative to predicting disease outbreaks and ample time to develop and apply appropriate mitigation measures for crop protection and enhanced productivity. Diagnosis is the process to determine cause of disease, while detection deals with knowing pathogen. Both disease diagnosis and pathogen detection are central to protecting crops and natural plant systems, as well as crucial prelude to undertaking prevention and management measures. Visual assessments of disease in plants populations are unreliable and subjective, arising from human limitations. Failure in pathogen detection and disease diagnosis lead directly to inadequate disease control and reductions in crop production and quality. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Digital Imaging (DI) have been applied in plant pathology to improve speed and accuracy of disease assessment, diagnostics and pathogen detection. These new technologies have assisted in collection and analysis of field data in ways that were not possible before advent of computer and thus, minimize human errors. This paper presents a brief review on application of both emerging technologies in plant disease diagnosis and detection.
Key words: Geographic information systems, imaging, plant disease, detection, diagnosis.
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