Contamination of potatoes by Erwinia carotovora during grading



Considerable tuber contamination by soft rot erwinias in rotting tubers can occur when grading potato stocks. Erwinia carotovora pv. carotovora, from a single rotting tuber, contaminated c. 100 kg of potatoes during mechanical grading, c. 50% being contaminated with 104–105 bacteria per tuber. Survival of the bacteria during storage was related to the degree of damage sustained by the tubers during grading which in turn depended on the model of oscillating riddle grader used and the cultivar of potato. Chemical disinfection of the grader immediately before use and of tubers immediately after grading reduced contamination.