In a survey of carrot diseases of the Nile delta region of northern Egypt, Pythium sulcatum (Pratt and Mitchell) and P. ultimum (Trow) were isolated from 74 and 26%, respectively, of carrot roots showing cavity spot disease. In laboratory and glasshouse pathogenicity tests, P. sulcatum caused significantly (P < 0.05) more severe damage than P. ultimum. The greater level of pathogenicity of P. sulcatum was associated with its ability to produce a wider array of cell-wall-degrading enzymes with significantly (P < 0.05) higher enzymatic activities compared to P. ultimum. Polygalacturonase, pectin lyase, pectate lyase and cellulase were detected in cavity spot lesions induced by both P. sulcatum and P. ultimum. Pectin methylesterase was detected in tissues invaded by P. sulcatum and not by, P. ultimum. This is the first record of cavity spot disease of carrots in Egypt and indicates P. sulcatum and P. ultimum as the causal agents of this disease in the region surveyed.