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Pectobacterium and Dickeya species, usually referred to as soft rot Enterobacteriaceae, are phytopathogenic genera of bacteria that cause soft rot and blackleg diseases and are responsible for significant yield losses in many crops across the globe. Diagnosis of soft rot disease is difficult through visual disease symptoms. Pathogen detection and identification methods based on cultural and morphological identification are time-consuming and not always reliable. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection method with the species-specific primers is fast and reliable for detecting soft rot pathogens. We have developed a specific and sensitive detection system for some species of soft rot Pectobacteriaceae pathogens in the Pectobacterium and Dickeya genera based on the use of species-specific primers to amplify unique genomic segments. The specificities of primers were verified by PCR analysis of genomic DNA from 14 strains of Pectobacterium, 8 strains of Dickeya, and 6 strains of non-soft rot bacteria. This PCR assay provides a quick, simple, powerful, and reliable method for detection of soft rot bacteria.

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