Greener Journal of Biological Sciences

Excellence and Timeliness


Choose Language

Greener Journal of  Biological Sciences Vol. 6 (3), pp. 046-055, June 2016.

 © 2015 Authors

Review Paper

Manuscript Number: 041916078



An Overview of Characterization and Identification of Soft Rot Bacterium Erwinia in Some Vegetable Crops


*Opara Emma Umunna and Asuquo Aniebiet Austin


Department of Plant Health Management, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.


Vegetables play an important role in human nutrition and diet by supplying the much needed vitamins, minerals, and fibers. However, this important contributor to human diet is constraint by challenges especially rotting caused by phytopathogens. Erwinia species is one of the most destructive diseases threatening vegetables and resulting in the decay of the produce both in the field, storage and on transit. The soft rot pathogen has a wide host range and attack crops of almost all families causing greater economic losses than any other bacterial disease. The pathogen penetrates its host basically through wounds and natural openings such as stomata, lenticels and hydathodes and releases an arsenal of plant cell-wall degrading enzymes such as cellulose, zylanase, polygalacturanase (PG) and pectin-methyl esterases (PME) causing the maceration of the middle lamella and subsequently cell death. Decay is favoured by high temperature and humidity. Transmission is by water, insects and from infected plants to uninfected plants especially during harvesting and storage when uninfected produce are exposed to contamination by infected ones. This article provides first-hand information to students, researchers and agriculturists about the soft rot pathogen, its mode of action, predisposing factors, host range, means of transmission and control measures. 


Key words: Isolation, microbes, Soft Rot, pathogen Erwinia caratovora, pecteolytic enzymes.

Post-review Rundown

View/get involved, click [Post-Review Page]


Agrios, G. N. (1997). Plant pathology (4th ed.). Academic Press, San Diego, California.


Agrios, G.N. (2006). Bacterial Soft Rots.5th Edn., Academic Press, San Diego.


Amadioha, A. C. (1997). Interaction of hydrolytic enzymes produced by Rhizoctania bataticola during rot development. Acta  phytopathologica Et Entomologica Hungarica 32(1-2): 79-87.


Amadioha, A. C. (2012). Reducing food losses through sustainable methods of plant disease management: an imperative for actualization of food security in Nigeria. A paper presented at the 13th inaugural lecture of MOUAU, June, 2012.


Apeyuan, K.D. (2000). Comparative Susceptibility Of Plant Storage Organs To Soft Rot Bacteria (E. carotovora). M. Sc. Thesis, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 86pp.


Bell KS, Sebaihia M, Pritchard L, Holden MT, Hyman LJ, Holeva MC, Thomson NR, Bentley SD, Churcher LJ, Mungall K, Atkin R, Bason N, Brooks K, Chillingworth T, Clark K, Doggett J, Fraser A, Hance Z, Hauser H, Jagels K, Moule S, Norbertczak H, Ormond D, Price C, Quail MA, Sanders M, Walker D, Whitehead S, Salmond GP, Birch PR, Parkhill J, Toth IK. (2004) "Genome sequence of the enterobacterial phytopathogen Erwinia carotovora pv. atroseptica and characterization of virulence factors" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2004 Jul 27;101 (30):11105-10. Epub 2004 Jul 19


Bradburry, J. F. (1977a). Erwinia carotovora pv. atroseptica. CMI descriptions of pathogenic fungi and bacteria, No551. Kew: Commonwealth Mycological Institute.


Bradburry, J. F. (1977b). Erwinia carotovora pv. carotovora. CMI descriptions of pathogenic fungi and bacteria, No551. Kew: Commonwealth Mycological Institute


Collmer A, Keen NT, (1986). The role of pectic enzymes in plant pathogenesis. Annual Review of Phytopathology 24, 383 – 409.


Czajkowski, R., G. Grzegorz and Van Der Wolf J. M. (2009). Distribution of Dickeya spp. and Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum in naturally infected seed potatoes. Eur. J.Plant. Pathol. 125: 263-275.


Elphinestone, and John G. (2010). "Soft Rot and Blackleg of Potato." Technical Informational Bulletin 21 Aug 1987: 1–8. Web. 26 Oct.


Erinle, I.D (1975). Bacterial rotting of potatoes imported into UK from the Mediterranean region and pathogenicity to stem and tuber by E. carotovora, Ph. D., Thesis University of Cambridge, 274 pp.


Erinle, I.D (1981). A Short Guide to Bacterial Diseases of Nigeria Plants. Hamdan Press 40 pp.


Garba H. Danladi, Sanusi Muhammad, and Sule S. Manga (2014). Isolation and Identification of Bacteria and Fungi Associated With Rots of  Citrullus lanatus and Capsicum frutescence in Sokoto Markets. International Conference on Advances in Agricultural, Biological & Environmental Sciences (AABES-2014) Oct 15-16, 2014 Dubai (UAE).


Gupta, S.K. and Thind, (2006). Diseases of Cruciferous Vegetables. Scientific Publishers, India, pp: 170-185.


He´lias V., Andrivon D. and B. Jouan (2000). Development of symptoms caused by Erwinia carotovora ssp. atroseptica under field conditions and their effects on the yield of individual potato plants. Plant Pathology 49, 23–32


Howard F. Schwartz and David H. Gent. (2007). Onion Bacterial Soft Rot;   High Plains IPM Guide, a cooperative effort of the University of Wyoming, University of Nebraska, Colorado State University and Montana State University.


Hyman, L. J. (1995). Isoenzyme profile and immunological relationships of pectate lyase and polygalacturonase of soft rot Erwinia species. MSc Thesis, University of Dundee.


Ismail, M. E.; Abdel-Monaim, M. F.; and Mostafa, Y. M. (2012). Identification and pathogenic bacteria associated with soft rot disease of girasole tuber in Egypt. Journal of Bacteriology Research Vol. 4(1), pp1-8.


Kharayat, Bhupendra Singh and Singh, Yogendra (2015). Characterization of Erwinia chrysanthemi isolates inciting stalk rot disease of sorghum. African Journal of Agricultural Research. Vol. 10(22), pp. 2309-2314, 28 May, 2015.


Leach, J. G. (1925). The seed corn maggot and potato blackleg. Science 61:120.


Leach, J. G. (1926). The relation of the seed corn maggot (Phorbiafusciceps zett.) to the spread and development of potato blackleg in Minnesota. Phytopathology 16: (149-176), illus.


Leach, J. G. (1927). The relation of insects and weather to the development of heart rot of celery. Phytopathology 17: 663- 667, illus.


Leach, J. G. (1930). Potato blackleg: the survival of the pathogen in the soil and some factors influencing infection. Phytopathology 20: 215- 228, illus.


Leach, J. G. (1933). The method of survival of puparia of the seed corn maggot (Hylemyia cilicrura Rond.) Ztschr. f. Angew. Ent. 20: 150-161, illus.


Lumb VM, Perombelon MCM, Zutra D, (1986). Studies of a wilt disease of the potato plant in Israel caused by Erwinia chrysanthemi. Plant Pathology, 35:196-202.


Nahunnaro H, (2008). Effects of different plant extracts in the control of yam rot induced by Rhizopus stolonifer on stored yam (Dioscorea spp) in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. Medwell J Agric Sci, 3(5):382-387.


Oladoye, C.O.; Olaoye, O. A.; Cornnerton, I. F. (2013). Isolation and identification of bacteria associated with spoilage of sweet potatoes during postharvest storage. Int Agric Food Sci, 3(1):10-15


Okigbo RN, Putheti R, Achusi CT, (2009a). Postharvest deterioration of cassava and its control using extracts of Azadirachta indica and Afromonium meleguata. E-J Chem, 6(4):1274-1280.


Pérombelon MCM, Kelman A, (1980). Ecology of the soft rot Erwinia. Annual Review of Phytopathology 18, 361– 87.


Perombelon, M. C. M. (2002). Potato diseases caused by soft rot Erwinia: an overview of pathogenesis. Plant Pathol. 51: 1-12.


Perombelon, M. C. M., Y. Bertheau, M. Cambra, D. Frechon, M.M. Lopez, et al, (1998). Microbiological, immunological and molecular methods suitable for commercial detection and quantification of the blackleg pathogen, Erwinia carotovora pv. atroseptica, on seed potato tubers: A review. Bulletin OEPP. 28:141-155.


Perombelon, M.C.M. (1992) Potato blackleg: epidemiology, host–pathogen interaction and control. Netherlands Journal of Plant Pathology 92, 135–146.


Powelson ML, Franc GD, (2001). Blackleg, aerial stem rot and tuber soft rot. In: Compendium of potato diseases second edition. W.R. Stevenson, R. Loria, G.D. Franc and D.P.Weingartner (eds.) APS Press, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. pp. 10-11.


Rahmanifar, B, N. Hasanzadeh, J. Razmi and Ghasemi A. (2012). Genetic diversity of Iranian potato soft rot bacteria based on polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis. African J. Biotec. 11(6): 1314-1320.


Thinda, B. S. and Payakab M. M. (1985). A review of bacterial stalk rot of maize in India. Trop. Pest Management. 31:311-316.


 Toth, Ian K.; Bell, Kenneth S.; Holeva, Maria C.; Birch, Paul R. J. (2003). "Soft rot erwiniae: from genes to genomes". Molecular Plant Pathology 4 (1): 17–30.


Ugwuoke KI, Onyeke CC, Tsopmbeng NGR, (2008). The efficacy of botanical protectants in the storage of cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott). Agro-Sci J Trop Agric Food Environ Ext, 7(2):93-98.


 Wood, M. (1998). Ubi7-new tool for potato breeders. Agricultural Research/January 1998, pp. 12-13.

Call for Papers/Books

Call for Scholarly Articles

Authors from around the world are invited to send scholary articles that suits the scope of this journal. The journal is currently open to submissions and will process and publish articles promptly.

The journal is centered on quality and goes about its processes in a very timely fashion. Seasoned editors/reviewers will be consulted to review each article(s), profer quality evaluations and polish the articles with expertise before publication.

Simply send your article(s) as an e-mail attachment to or



Login Form

Other Journals