|Slime flux on a Camperdown Elm caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum|
(Jones, 1901) Waldee, 1945
The species is a plant pathogen with a diverse host range, including many agriculturally and scientifically important plant species. It produces pectolytic enzymes that hydrolyze pectin between individual plant cells. This causes the cells to separate, a disease plant pathologists term bacterial soft rot. Specifically, it causes beet vascular necrosis and blackleg of potato and other vegetables (hence the name carotovora - "carrot-eater"), as well as slime flux on many different tree species.
This bacterius is a ubiquitous plant pathogen with a wide host range (carrot, potato, tomato, leafy greens, squash and other cucurbits, onion, green peppers, African violets etc.), able to cause disease in almost any plant tissue it invades. It is a very economically important pathogen in terms of postharvest losses, and a common cause of decay in stored fruits and vegetables. Decay caused by E. carotovora is often simply referred to as "bacterial soft rot" (BSR) though this may also be caused by other bacteria. Most plants or plant parts can resist invasion by the bacteria, unless some type of wound is present. High humidity and temperatures around 30°C favor development of decay. Mutants can be produced which are less virulent. Virulence factors include: pectinases, cellulases, (which degrade plant cell walls), and also proteases, lipases, xylanases and nucleases (along with the normal virulence factors for pathogens – Fe acquisition, LPS integrity, multiple global regulatory systems).
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