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Microorganisms That Can Destroy Plants

Fungi Ascomycetes

1. Ascomycetes are 'spore shooters'. They are fungi which produce microscopic spores inside
special, elongated cells or sacs, known as 'asci', which give the group its name.

Many ascomycetes are of commercial importance. Some play a beneficial role, such as
the yeasts used in baking, brewing, and wine fermentation, plus truffles and morels, which are
held as gourmet delicacies. Many of them cause tree diseases, such as Dutch elm disease and
apple blights. Some of the plant pathogenic ascomycetes are apple scab, rice blast, the ergot
fungi, black knot, and the powdery mildews.

2. Basidiomycota include these groups: mushrooms, puffballs, stinkhorns, bracket fungi, other
polypores, jelly fungi, boletes, chanterelles, earth stars, smuts, bunts, rusts, mirror yeasts, and the
human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus.

Basidiomycota are filamentous fungi composed of hyphae (except for yeasts), and
reproduce sexually via the formation of specialized club-shaped end cells called basidia that
normally bear external meiospores (usually four). These specialized spores are called
basidiospores. However, some Basidiomycota reproduce asexually in addition or exclusively.
Basidiomycota that reproduce asexually (discussed below) can be recognized as members of this
phylum by gross similarity to others, by the formation of a distinctive anatomical feature (the
clamp connection - see below), cell wall components, and definitively by phylogenetic molecular
analysis of DNA sequence data.

3. Oomycetes

The oomycetes are not true fungi but are fungus-like organisms.[3] They include some of the most
destructive plant pathogens including the genus Phytophthora, which includes the causal agents
of potato late blight and sudden oak death.[4][5] Particular species of oomycetes are responsible
for root rot.

Despite not being closely related to the fungi, the oomycetes have developed very similar
infection strategies. Oomycetes are capable of using effector proteins to turn off a plant's defenses
in its infection process.[6] Plant pathologists commonly group them with fungal pathogens.

4. Phytomyxea

Some slime molds in Phytomyxea cause important diseases, including club root in cabbage and
its relatives and powdery scab in potatoes. These are caused by species of Plasmodiophora and
Spongospora, respectively.

5. Nematodes are small, multicellular wormlike animals. Many live freely in the soil, but there are
some species that parasitize plant roots. They are a problem in tropical and subtropical regions
of the world, where they may infect crops. Potato cyst nematodes (Globodera pallida and G.
rostochiensis) are widely distributed in Europe and North and South America and cause $300
million worth of damage in Europe every year. Root knot nematodes have quite a large host
range, they parasitize plant root systems and thus directly affect the uptake of water and nutrients
needed for normal plant growth and reproduction,[11] whereas cyst nematodes tend to be able to
infect only a few species. Nematodes are able to cause radical changes in root cells in order to
facilitate their lifestyle.

6. Protozoa and algae

There are a few examples of plant diseases caused by protozoa (e.g., Phytomonas, a
kinetoplastid).[12] They are transmitted as zoospores that are very durable, and may be able to
survive in a resting state in the soil for many years. They have also been shown to transmit plant

When the motile zoospores come into contact with a root hair they produce a plasmodium
and invade the roots.

Some colorless parasitic algae (e.g., Cephaleuros) also cause plant diseases.

Five main types of bacterial pathogenicity factors are known: uses of cell walldegrading
enzymes, toxins, effector proteins, phytohormones and exopolysaccharides.

7. Erwinia species use cell walldegrading enzymes to cause soft rot. Agrobacterium species
change the level of auxins to cause tumours with phytohormones. Exopolysaccharides are
produced by bacteria and block xylem vessels, often leading to the death of the plant.
Map of Greece
Characteristics of Korean Art

Traditionally, Korean art has borrowed heavily from the aesthetics of both Chinese art and
Japanese art, using similar concepts, motifs, techniques, and forms. But despite this close association
with the characteristics of traditional Chinese art, Korean artists have over the centuries developed a
distinctive style of their own. The unique character of Korean art lies in its understated simplicity and
spontaneity, together with a feeling of harmony with nature.

One of the main characteristics of Korean art is its close association with naturalism, a
characteristic already noticable by the time of the Three Kingdoms period (c.57 BCE - 668 CE) but fully
established by the Silla period (668935). The practice of accepting nature as it is, led to a highly
developed appreciation for the simple and the unadorned. In wood carving, for instance, Korean
sculptors favoured the unaltered beauty of the natural wood grain. In ceramic art, the Korean potter was
not interested in achieving technical perfection (in his surfaces, curves, or shapes), but in bringing out
the natural characteristics of his materials and medium.

Simplicity also applied to the use of decorative devices and motifs and the intervention of the
human hand is kept to a minimum. In addition, avoidance of extremes has been a regular characteristic
of most types of art in Korea. For example, lines with extreme-straightness or extreme-curves are rarely
seen. Thus the bold straight line of a Chinese bowl made in the era of Song Dynasty art (960-1279)
becomes a modest curve in a Korean vessel of the same period. In fact, Korean artists tend to shun all
bold lines, sharp angles, and steeply angled planes, as well as extreme colours. Not surprisingly therefore,
in Korean architecture, the steeply curved Chinese roof becomes a gently sloping variant. In terms of
overall impact, the effect of a piece of Korean art is typically gentle and mellow: lines are fluent and the
impression is one of subtle inner harmony. For important dates in the evolution of Asian art and culture,
see: Chinese Art Timeline (18,000 BCE - present).

Characteristics of Japanese Art

The painting, calligraphy, architecture, pottery, sculpture, bronzes, jade carving, and other fine
or decorative visual arts produced in Japan over the centuries.

General characteristics

The study of Japanese art has frequently been complicated by the definitions and expectations
established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Japan was opened to the West. The occasion
of dramatically increased interaction with other cultures seemed to require a convenient summary of
Japanese aesthetic principles, and Japanese art historians and archaeologists began to construct
methodologies to categorize and assess a vast body of material ranging from Neolithic pottery to wood-
block prints. Formulated in part from contemporary scholarly assessments and in part from the syntheses
of enthusiastic generalists, these theories on the characteristics of Japanese culture and, more
specifically, Japanese art not unexpectedly bore the prejudices and tastes of the times. There was, for
example, a tendency to cast the court art of the Heian period (7941185) as the apex of Japanese artistic
achievement. The aesthetic preference for refinement, for images subtly imbued with metaphoric
meaning, reflected the sublimely nuanced court mores that permitted only oblique reference to emotion
and valued suggestion over bold declaration. Existing in tandem with the canonization of the Heian court
aesthetic was the notion that the aesthetic sensibilities surrounding the tea ceremony were
quintessentially Japanese. This communal ritual, developed in the 16th century, emphasized the
hyperconscious juxtaposition of found and finely crafted objects in an exercise intended to lead to subtle
epiphanies of insight. It further highlighted the central role of indirection and understatement in the
Japanese visual aesthetic.

Another pervasive characteristic of Japanese art is an understanding of the natural world as a

source of spiritual insight and an instructive mirror of human emotion. An indigenous religious
sensibility that long preceded Buddhism perceived that a spiritual realm was manifest in nature (see
Shinto). Rock outcroppings, waterfalls, and gnarled old trees were viewed as the abodes of spirits and
were understood as their personification. This belief system endowed much of nature with numinous
qualities. It nurtured, in turn, a sense of proximity to and intimacy with the world of spirit as well as a
trust in natures general benevolence. The cycle of the seasons was deeply instructive and revealed, for
example, that immutability and transcendent perfection were not natural norms. Everything was
understood as subject to a cycle of birth, fruition, death, and decay. Imported Buddhist notions of
transience were thus merged with the indigenous tendency to seek instruction from nature.
In summary, the range of Japanese visual art is extensive, and some elements seem truly
antithetical. An illuminated sutra manuscript of the 12th century and a macabre scene of seppuku (ritual
disembowelment) rendered by the 19th-century print artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi can be forced into a
common aesthetic only in the most artificial way. The viewer is thus advised to expect a startling range
of diversity. Yet, within that diverse body of expression, certain characteristic elements seem to be
recurrent: art that is aggressively assimilative, a profound respect for nature as a model, a decided
preference for delight over dogmatic assertion in the description of phenomena, a tendency to give
compassion and human scale to religious iconography, and an affection for materials as important
vehicles of meaning.

Characteristics of Chinese Art

Metaphysical, Daoist Aspect

Ever since the era of Prehistoric art, Chinese society - itself almost wholly agricultural or rural until the
20th century - has always placed great importance on understanding the pattern of nature and co-existing
with it. Nature was perceived as the visible manifestation of God's creativity, using the interaction of the
yin (female) and yang (male) life forces. The main aim of Chinese art - initially centered on propitiation
and sacrifice - soon turned to the expression of human understanding of these life forces, in a variety of
artforms, including painting (notably that of landscapes, bamboo, birds, and flowers), pottery, relief
sculpture and the like. The Chinese also believed that the energy and rhythm generated by an artist
resonated closely with the ultimate source of that energy. They thought that art - especially calligraphy
and painting - had the capacity to refresh the artist or to retard him spiritually, according to the harmony
of his practice and the character of the individual himself. See also: Traditional Chinese Art:

Moral, Confucian Aspect

Chinese art also had social and moralistic functions. The earliest mural paintings, for instance, portrayed
benevolent emperors, wise ministers, loyal generals, as well as their evil opposites, as an example and a
warning to observers. Portrait art had a similar moral function, which aimed to highlight not the facial
or figurative features of the subject so much as his or her character and status in society.
Inspirational But Not Essentially Religious

Court painters were frequently commissioned to depict auspicious and memorable events, but high
religious painting is unknown in Chinese art. Even Buddhism, which stimulated the production of
numerous masterpieces, was actually a foreign import. The main thing is that themes used in traditional
Chinese art were almost always noble, or inspirational. Thus overly realistic subjects such as war, death,
violence, martyrdom or even the nude, were avoided. Furthermore, Chinese artistic tradition does not
separate form from content: it is not enough, for instance, for the form to be exquisite if the subject is

Inner Essence Not Outer Appearance

Unlike Western artists, Chinese painters were not interested in replicating nature, or creating a true-life
depiction of (say) a landscape. Instead they focused on expressing the inner essence of the subject.
Remember, rocks and streams were seen as "live" things, visible manifestations of the invisible forces
of the cosmos. Therefore, it was the role of the artist to capture the spiritual rather than the material
characteristics of the object concerned.

Symbolism in Chinese Visual Art

Chinese art is full of symbolism, in that artists typically seek to depict some aspect of a totality of which
they are intuitively aware. In addition, Chinese art is packed with specific symbols: bamboo represents
a spirit which can be bent by circumstance but not broken; jade represents purity; a dragon often
symbolizes the emperor; the crane, long life; a pair of ducks, fidelity in marriage. Plant symbols include:
the orchid, another symbol of purity and loyalty; and the pine tree, which symbolizes endurance. Some
art critics, however, prefer to describe Chinese art as essentially expressionist, rather than symbolic.

The Impact of the Amateur Artist

During the Warring States period and the Han Dynasty, the growth of a merchant and landowning class
led to increased numbers of art lovers and patrons with time on their hands. This led to the emergence
in the third century CE of an elite class of scholarly amateur artists, involved in the arts of poetry,
calligraphy, painting and a range of crafts. These amateurs tended to look down their nose at the lower-
class professional artist, employed by the Imperial court, and other regional or civic authorities.
Moreover, this division of artists later had a significant influence on the character of Chinese art. From
the Song dynasty (9601279) on, the gentlemen-artists became closely associated with increasingly
refined forms of ink and wash painting and calligraphy, and their works became an important media of
exchange in a social economy where the giving of presents was a vital step in building up a personal
network. Just like skill in writing letters or poetry, the ability to excel at calligraphy and painting helped
establish one's status in a society of learned individuals.