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.

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