Pests and Diseases, Research, Storage

How Chemistry Can Rot Potatoes, And Also Save Them

A bacteria that infects potatoes gets its job done with the help of chemical weaponry, a new study shows. The microbe secretes molecules that allow it to survive in air while also bumping off competing bacteria. It’s yet another example of the powerful chemistry happening in nature every day. In the future, this find could help farms save potatoes from rotting, and could even pave the way for new antibacterial drugs. Today’s new report, published in the journal Science, is about potato slimy rot. Scientists tell this particular rot apart from other rots because the causative bacteria, Clostridium puniceum, forms pink pigments and slime on infected potatoes. It’s a problem in wet seasons or when potatoes are stored under humid conditions. More

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