Southern bacterial wilt is a major problem on tomato in Louisiana. The disease is caused by the soil-borne bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum, and symptoms usually develop in late spring or early summer once the weather warms up. The most obvious symptom is the sudden (seemingly overnight) wilting of the plant with a complete loss of turgidity. Closer observation often reveals a canker at the base of the plant accompanied by discoloration of the internal tissues. I have a graduate student working on this disease and as part of the project, we are collecting isolates of the bacterium from around the state for comparative purposes. If anyone comes across this disease, we would appreciate it if you would send us a sample. All we need is a section of the stem of a wilted plant, preferably about 6-8 inches in length taken from the base of the plant. Simply place it in a plastic bag and mail it to James Young, 302 Life Sciences, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Thanks!!
Donald M. Ferrin, Ph.D., Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA