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The soft rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE) Pectobacterium and Dickeya species (formerly classified as pectinolytic Erwinia spp.) cause important diseases on potato and other arable and horticultural crops. They may affect the growing potato plant causing blackleg and are responsible for tuber soft rot in storage thereby reducing yield and quality. Efficient and cost-effective detection and identification methods are essential to investigate the ecology and pathogenesis of the SRE as well as in seed certification programmes. The aim of this review was to collect all existing information on methods available for SRE detection. The review reports on the sampling and preparation of plant material for testing and on over thirty methods to detect, identify and differentiate the soft rot and blackleg causing bacteria to species and subspecies level. These include methods based on biochemical characters, serology, molecular techniques which rely on DNA sequence amplification as well as several less-investigated ones.