Microbe-host interactions can be categorised as pathogenic, parasitic or mutualistic, but in practice few examples exactly fit these descriptions. New molecular methods are providing insights into the dynamics of microbe-host interactions, with most microbes changing their relationship with their host at different life-cycle stages or in response to changing environmental conditions. Microbes can transition between the trophic states of pathogenesis and symbiosis and/or between mutualism and parasitism. In plant-based systems, an understanding of the true ecological niche of organisms and the dynamic state of their trophic interactions with their hosts has important implications for agriculture, including crop rotation, disease control and risk management.
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