Erwinia tracheiphila

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Erwinia tracheiphila on zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University
Source: IPM Images

Erwinia tracheiphila (Smith) Bergey et. al. - (cucurbit wilt)

The bacterium causes a destructive, vascular wilt disease of cucurbits in northern and north-eastern parts of North America. Yield losses can reach 80%. The pathogen is transmitted by diabroticite beetles like the striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma vittata, and the spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata. Management usually relies on vector control with insecticides. Few commercial resistant cultivars are available.

The cucumber beetles contaminate the feeding wounds with the bacterium which colonizes and blocks the xylem vessels producing a characteristic slim. This slim can often been seen when cutting the wilting stem and slowing pulling the ends apart. Infected plants acquire a dull green color, leaves become flaccid and the plants wilts.

For a review see Rojas et al., 2015.