Plant Pathogen Identification


Pathogenic bacteria cause diseases in either humans or plants and animals. Pathogenic bacteria not only causes damage to the plant, but many strains of bacteria can travel from one plant to another. There is usually no way to cure pathogenic bacteria, so the infected plants often need to be cut out. Usually the pathogenic bacteria needs to be identified before you can take preventative measures to keep other plants from becoming infected.


For most plants to become infected by bacteria, the bacteria need a wound to enter. This is because healthy plant surfaces have evolved to be resistant to bacteria. Plants that have been cut open in some way or another might be infected by bacteria. Plants that are in cool, damp environments without adequate sunlight can also be vulnerable to bacteria.


Pathogenic bacteria tend to cause dark spots where there are large concentrations of bacteria. Some bacteria cause the plant surfaces to become slimy. According to Ohio State University, plants infected with pathogenic bacteria can be identified by cutting open the plant to check for slimy strands.


If the plant responds to antibiotics, it is likely infected by pathogenic bacteria. However, the use of too many antibiotics can also harm the plant and cause the bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotics.

Medical Diagnostic Tools

Scientists have come up with ways of identifying harmful bacteria strains. In severe cases, plants can be analyzed in a laboratory setting. Laboratory methods of identifying the pathogenic bacteria include the biolog system, the riboprinter and the electrospray. The biolog tests the pathogen’s ability to use 95 different forms of carbon, which helps pinpoint what kind of pathogen the carbon is. The riboprinter and the electrospray analyze the pathogens more deeply, looking at the DNA patterns, according to the University of Florida.


Most bacteria are actually helpful to plants. Bacteria are the only organisms that have the ability to turn nitrogen into ammonium. Some plants have adapted to host bacteria in their roots by producing sugars that the bacteria can feed off of, so that the bacteria can provide them with a steady amount of ammonium, according to Ohio State University. These plants also produce sheaves that block oxygen, allowing bacteria to thrive. Bacteria are also important in the soil because they decompose dead matter, which puts more nutrients in the soil for the plant. Killing off the beneficial bacteria can harm the plant and prevent it from surviving.

Keywords: pathogenic bacteria, plants infected, slimy strands, bacteria strains, biolog system

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.