Black heart

Kind of organism : Disorders and damages

Detection method : Visual

All diseases & pests

Symptoms on tubers

Black heart is characterised by black colouration at the centre of the tuber.

The affected tissues form clearly delineated spots, irregular in pattern, that remain quite firm (photo 1) and which sometimes contain small cavities whose walls are not, as in the case of hollow heart, covered with healing cork. The pigment responsible for the black colour is the same as that responsible for the internal blackening: melanin.

With seed potato tubers, the diseased plants germinate badly and produce weak plants.

Risk factors

Whilst black heart sometimes appears in the field when the soil is saturated with water or during very hot temperatures, in the majority of cases it affects tubers during their storage or during their transport in hot and badly ventilated conditions. A long exposure to temperatures of around 0°C can also cause the damage.

Black heart is caused by a lack of oxygen or an excess of CO2 in the surrounding air which creates an asphyxiating environment.

Generally speaking, a lack of oxygen in storage occurs in the following cases:


In order to prevent the development of blackheart, it is recommended to: