Detailed studies were conducted on the distribution of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and Dickeya spp. in two potato seed lots of different cultivars harvested from blackleg-diseased crops. Composite samples of six different tuber sections (peel, stolon end, and peeled potato tissue 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 cm from the stolon end) were analysed by enrichment PCR, and CVP plating followed by colony PCR on the resulting cavity-forming bacteria. Seed lots were contaminated with Dickeya spp. and P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (Pcc), but not with P. atrosepticum. Dickeya spp. and Pcc were found at high concentrations in the stolon ends, whereas relatively low densities were found in the peel and in deeper located potato tissue. Rep-PCR, 16S rDNA sequence analysis and biochemical assays, grouped all the Dickeya spp. isolates from the two potato seed lots as biovar 3. The implications of the results for the control of Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp., and sampling strategies in relation to seed testing, are discussed.
- soft-rot erwinias