SCIENTISTS in China have identified the genes responsible for 'black rot' in vegetables; a discovery that may be key in curing a disease that causes severe losses in agricultural yields worldwide.

Published in the journal Genome Research, the study says that by comparing different strains of the bacteria responsible for black rot - called Xanthomonas campestris pathovar campestris (Xcc) - researchers were able to isolate 75 different genes that all strains shared.

Under both high temperatures and humidity levels, Xcc infects vegetable crops by spreading through the plants' vascular tissues, turning the veins in their leaves yellow and black, and causing V-shaped lesions along the margins of the leaves.