Five strains of Enterobacter cloacae that are biological control agents of Pythium damping-off diseases produced the hydroxamate siderophore aerobactin under iron-limiting conditions. Genes determining aerobactin biosynthesis of the biocontrol strain E. cloacae EcCT-501 were localized to a 12.3-kb region, which conferred aerobactin production to Escherichia coli DH5α. The aerobactin biosynthesis genes of E. cloacae hybridized to those of the pCoIV- K30 plasmid of E. coli, but restriction patterns of the aerobactin regions of pCoIV-K30 and E. cloacae differed. A derivative strain with a deletion in the aerobactin biosynthesis locus was as effective as strain EcCT-501 in biological control of Pythium damping-off of cucumber. Thus, aerobactin production did not contribute significantly to the biological control activity of EcCT-501 under the conditions of this study.