Bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse of pineapple

Have you seen bacterial heart rot/bacterial fruit collapse symptoms?

If you see bacterial heart rot/bacterial fruit collapse symptoms, report them to Biosecurity Queensland immediately. Do not move plant material off your property - this can spread the disease.

Early detection is vital.

Call us on 13 25 23

  • Lesions on centre whorl
    Lesions on centre whorl
  • Soft rot caused by dickeya
    Soft rot caused by dickeya
  • Fermentation
  • Pineapple with dickeya
    Pineapple with dickeya

General information

Bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse of pineapples occurs in Brazil, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is a soft rot pathogen that can form latent, nearly undetectable infections in pineapple plants. It has the potential to negatively affect the pineapple industry.


Scientific name
  • Dickeya spp. pineapple infecting strains (formerly Erwinia chrysanthemi)
Other names
  • Ghost disease
Similar species
  • Dickeya zeae
  • Fruit shell becomes olive green in colour.
  • Exudes fruit juice and releases gas due to fermentation.
  • Fruit collapse 2–3 weeks before ripening.
  • Blisters consisting of gas filled brown streaks on the leaf.
  • Water soaked lesions on the white basal part of leaves (in the centre whorl).
  • Cavities develop within the fruit.
Habitat and spread
  • Spread can be via plant surface, infected plant debris, soil and irrigation water.
  • Pathogen is spread by wind, wind-blown rain, and insects – most often ants and souring beetle.
  • Contaminated machinery or physical contact between plants can result in disease transmission.
Distribution in Queensland
  • Not recorded in Queensland.
  • Information on pathogen life cycle is limited and described as being introduced through latently infected plant material.
  • Pathogen can survive on weeds/host surface and in vascular tissues of infected plants/plant debris.
  • Infection starts at site of injury/wound and depends on temperature and humidity.
  • Exudates from collapsed plants / fruits and cause secondary spread through stomata/wounds, and can cause a systemic rot that moves from leaves to heart (vice versa).
  • Further infection can be spread through windblown rain and irrigation water.


  • Dickeya spp. are reported to cause soft rot in a wide range of hosts.


  • A Dickeya infestation could lead to a reduced crop yield.
  • Crop losses of up to 40% have been reported for bacterial heart rot/fruit collapse in Malaysia.


  • A severe outbreak of the disease could significantly impact the employment and livelihood of pineapple growers, and the sustainability of the pineapple industry.
  • If you see symptoms consistent with bacterial heart rot/fruit collapse call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or Biosecurity Queensland 13 25 23.
More information

Last updated 29 April 2016