Pathogenic plant-microbe interactions. What we know and how we benefit

Plants, like humans and other animals, also get sick, exhibit disease symptoms, and die. Plant diseases are caused by environmental stress, genetic or physiological disorders and infectious agents including viroids, viruses, bacteria and fungi. Plant pathology originated from the convergence of microbiology, botany and agronomy; its ultimate goal is the control of plant disease. Microbiologists have been attracted to this field of research because of the need for identification of the agents causing infectious diseases in economically important crops. In 1878—only two years after Pasteur and Koch had shown for the first time that anthrax in animals was caused by a bacteria—Burril, in the USA, discovered that the fire blight disease of apple and pear was also caused by a bacterium (nowadays known as Erwinia amylovora). In 1898, Beijerinck concluded that tobacco mosaic was caused by a “contagium vivum fluidum” which he called a virus. In 1971, Diener proved that a potato disease named potato spindle tuber was caused by infectious RNA which he called viroid ​
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