Pectobacterium carotovora, P. atrosepticum, Dickeya chrysanthemi
This disease affects pepper stems and fruit. Internal discoloration appears on the stem, followed by hollowing-out of the pith and wilting. As lesions expand along the stem, branches break. Foliar chlorosis and necrosis may also develop. Symptoms of post-harvest decay start as sunken, water-soaked areas around the edge of wounds or on the stem end next to the peduncle. These areas may be light or dark and become soft as they rapidly expand. Often, the epidermis splits open, releasing watery, macerated tissue.
Conditions for Disease Development
Soft rot bacteria are common inhabitants of soils. Under warm, humid conditions, infection through wounds or cut stems occurs. Splashing rain and irrigation water spread bacteria to foliage and fruit.
In greenhouse operations, provide adequate air circulation to help reduce relative humidity. Avoid injuries to plants during the growing season and on fruit during harvest. Improved sanitation in the field and in packing houses is effective in reducing losses. All harvest equipment, the packing line and packing boxes should be sanitized frequently. Dump tank water and packing line washers should maintain a minimum available chlorine concentration of 150 ppm at a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Wet fruit should be dried promptly before packing and then cooled quickly to below 10° C (50° F).