- Saprophytic survival usually occurs in or on the soil.
- In the absence of the cultivated host plant, fungi are capable of surviving as saprophytes and can be studied under three categories:
1) Soil inhabitants: Those organisms which survive indefinitely in the soil as saprophytes in the absence of the host plant. Ex: Species of Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotium
2) Root inhabitants: These are more specialized parasites that survive in soils in close association with their hosts. The active saprophytic phase remains as long as the host tissue in which they are living as parasites is not completely decomposed.
Ex: Species of Fusarium, Verticillium (vascular wilt causing fungi) and root rot of cotton (Phymatotrichum omnivorum)
3) Rhizosphere colonizers: Those organisms which colonize the dead substrates in the root region and continue to live like that for a longer period which are more tolerant to soil antagonism. Ex: Leaf mold in tomato: Cladosporium fulvum