Bacterial soft rot (Erwinia carotovora pv. carotovora)
Soft rot often begins in the peduncle and calyx tissues of harvested fruit. Infection can occur through wounds anywhere on the fruit. Fruit infected on the plant collapses and hangs on the plant like a water-filled bag. When the contents leak out, a dry shell of the fruit remains.
The bacteria are soil-borne. Soft rot is primarily a post-harvest problem although it can occur in the field being facilitated by injuries to the fruit by insects and water splash. The disease is serious during rainy periods because the bacteria are splashed from the soil onto the fruit, which are more susceptible due to their high moisture content.
- Rotation with beans or maize.
- Control of insects that cause injury to fruits.
- Post-harvest decay can be reduced by harvesting fruits when dry, minimising injury during handling, and store at cool temperatures.
- ]If fruits must be washed, add free chlorine in the wash water to eliminate soft-rot bacteria. However, this treatment prevents infection during washing but does not prevent soft rot development in fruits that were already infected before washing.