Two regions involved in catechol biosynthesis (cbs) of Erwinia carotovora W3C105 were cloned by functional complementation of Escherichia coli mutants that were deficient in the biosynthesis of the catechol siderophore enterobactin (ent). A 4.3-kb region of genomic DNA of E. carotovora complemented the entB402 mutation of E. coli. A second genomic region of 12.8 kb complemented entD, entC147, entE405, and entA403 mutations of E. coli. Although functions encoded by catechol biosynthesis genes (cbsA, cbsB, cbsC, cbsD, and cbsE) of E. carotovora were interchangeable with those encoded by corresponding enterobactin biosynthesis genes (entA, entB, entC, entD, and entE), only cbsE hybridized to its functional counterpart (entE) in E. coli. The cbsEA region of E. carotovora W3C105 hybridized to genomic DNA of 21 diverse strains of E. carotovora but did not hybridize to that of a chrysobactin-producing strain of Erwinia chrysanthemi. Strains of E. carotovora fell into nine groups on the basis of sizes of restriction fragments that hybridized to the cbsEA region, indicating that catechol biosynthesis genes were highly polymorphic among strains of E. carotovora.