An Inquiry-Based Investigation of Bacterial Soft Rot of Potato

R. Louis Hirsch, Seth Miller, Dennis Halterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inquiry-based investigations of diseases are often difficult to safely undertake in middle school or high school science courses. However, by utilizing potatoes as a mammalian analogue, important groups of pathogens can be investigated with common materials available from the local supermarket. This article provides information to guide the exploration of factors underlying the development of the potato disease bacterial soft rot, caused by Pectobacterium caratovorum, and allows students the freedom to develop and test their own hypotheses regarding the development of symptoms, the spread of pathogens, and the impact of host and environmental variables on the progress of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved.


  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Pectobacterium caratovorum
  • inoculation
  • plant diseases
  • soilborne pathogens
  • student-driven inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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