Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Potatoes, Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora, Erwinia chrysanthemi

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A disease which causes potato stems to become blackened, soft and rotten has been named 'blackleg' for obvious reasons. It has caused concern among Western Australia's potato growers when outbreaks have appeared in commercial crops. Yet the organisms responsible for these disease symptoms are nothing new andfearsome. In/act they probably have been in this State since vegetables were introduced by the first settlers. The disease has been a headache to research workers seeking to isolate a single organism responsible for such stem rot. The blackleg disease, since its early recognition, has been split into 'typical' and 'atypical' forms. Also, there have been attempts to classify it further into pre- and post-emergence types. In fact, such categorisation has led to much of the confusion which exists today.