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BMC Microbiol. 2013 Jul 29;13:176. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-13-176.

An easy, simple inexpensive test for the specific detection of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum based on sequence analysis of the pmrA gene.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Virologie, Microbiologie et Qualité /Eco Toxicologie et Biodiversité, Université Hassan II Mohammedia-Casablanca, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques-Mohammedia-FSTM, BP 146, Mohammedia 20650, Maroc.



The species Pectobacterium carotovorum includes a diverse subspecies of bacteria that cause disease on a wide variety of plants. In Morocco, approximately 95% of the P. carotovorum isolates from potato plants with tuber soft rot are P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. However, identification of this pathogen is not always related to visual disease symptoms. This is especially true when different pathogen cause similar diseases on potato, citing as an example, P. carotovorum, P. atrosepticum and P. wasabiae. Numerous conventional methods were used to characterize Pectobacterium spp., including biochemical assays, specific PCR-based tests, and construction of phylogenetic trees by using gene sequences. In this study, an alternative method is presented using a gene linked to pathogenicity, in order to allow accuracy at subspecies level. The pmrA gene (response regulator) has been used for identification and analysis of the relationships among twenty nine Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and other Pectobacterium subspecies.


Phylogenetic analyses of pmrA sequences compared to ERIC-PCR and 16S rDNA sequencing, demonstrated that there is considerable genetic diversity in P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum strains, which can be divided into two distinct groups within the same clade.


pmrA sequence analysis is likely to be a reliable tool to identify the subspecies Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and estimate their genetic diversity.

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