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Blackleg disease : epidemiovigilance, detection, risk factors, sources of resistance and prophylaxis

Blackleg disease, caused by the bacteria Pectobacterium and Dickeya, is regularly the main cause of refusals and downgradings and is the subject of disputes at destination, causing major economic losses for the seed potato sector.

Since 2016, the number of species belonging to the 2 genera has risen from 12 to 33, revealing their great genetic diversity and resulting in ecological niches, host spectrum, aggressiveness and transmission that are very specific to each species.

Controlling these pathogens requires the development of integrated solutions that take into account the characteristics of the bacterial populations involved, the epidemiology of the disease and the use of genetic resources for resistance.

Health quality is an important issue for the French seed potato sector. In order to achieve this objective, the epidemiovigilance mission forms the basis of our work and enables us to monitor the pathogen populations established in France. It is based on the implementation of crop inventories aimed at collecting the pathogens associated with symptoms.

Pectinolytic bacteria, classified as Non-Quarantine Regulated Organisms (NQROs), are capable of transmitting themselves to newly-formed tubers. Detecting them is an important issue for the industry and for guaranteeing plant quality. The development of molecular tools should enable us to adapt to changes in the number of pathogenic species.  

There are many factors conducive to the expression of the disease. Research and field data are essential to understanding these factors. The ultimate aim is to develop an integrative tool for assessing the risk associated with the expression of the disease, taking into account the different factors involved and their relative importance.

To date, control products are limited and prophylaxis remains a solution for limiting the risk of transmission of these pathogens, as does the exploitation of genetic resources associated with resistance against Pectobacterium and Dickeya.

The team


Jérémy Cigna

Programme manager

Gif-sur-Yvette (91)


Angélique Laurent

Research engineer

Le Rheu (35)

Pauline Dewaegeneire.jpg

Pauline Dewaegeneire

Research engineer

In charge of experiments

Comité Nord
Achicourt (62)

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Euphrasie Lépinay

Research engineer
PhD student

Comité Nord
Achicourt (62)


Laure Berton

Assistant engineer

Le Rheu (35)

Photo GJ.JPG

Gwendoline Joncour

Work-study student

Gif-sur-Yvette (91)

Our partners

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