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Testing ways to prevent TMV spread within plants

Postby priyanka222 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:05 pm

I am in 10th grade and I am planning to enter the local science fair. My project involves TMV and testing different ways to prevent the spread of it within plants.
I have done research on google and other search engines and i have come up with a brief procedure but I am stuck at one part.
So, to prevent the spread of TMV within plants, I want to inoculate the plant with a weak strain of TMV and then test to see if the plant becomes more resistant to the common strain. The problem is that I dont where I can find a weak strain or which weak strain to use.
I also had an alternative project which involved inactivating the virus using heat, and then testing the effects of the new extract on plants.
However, I really would like to do the first project that I mentioned above. If someone could help me identify a weak strain of TMV and where I could get it-- that would be very helpful. Also, if someone could guide me as to what are some other variables I can test-- that would be great!

Thank You

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Postby EmilyDolson » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:02 am


Wow! It sounds like you are on track for a fascinating and involved project. After doing some research on TMV, it seems like it is fairly commonly used for research, so there must be some way to obtain it, although there seem to be some restrictions on its availability in the USA, which could be a problem. You could probably obtain it on the internet, but I think it would be easier, and possibly safer, to first check with someone in your area, such as a college professor, who uses plant viruses, either in class or for research. They may be able to point you towards a reputable supplier closer to where you live.

As for the strain, that would probably depend on what types of plants you are using, as different strains seem to affect different plants to different degrees.

Some variables you could investigate are the weak strain that you use to strengthen the plant's immune system, the common strain that you use to test its immunity, or maybe the type of plant on which you are performing the experiment. It depends what direction you want to take your project in.

I hope that helped! I'm sorry I can't give you more definitive answers.

Good luck, and feel free to ask any more questions that come up!

- Emily
Reach for the stars and, if you miss, grab the moon!

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Postby priyanka222 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:46 pm

I talked to my teacher and she said that I can dilute the TMV in order to "create" a somewhat weaker strain--- that is only if I cannot obtain the weak strain from anywhere else--
Thanks for your advice though!

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Postby Grace » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:52 pm

Hi Priyanka,

In addition to Emily's suggestions, here are some more variables you can look into using:

(1) Comparing effects of your weak TMV inoculation on different species of plants

(2) Using different dilutions/concentrations of TMV to see which is more effective

Let us know if you have any more questions!


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Postby adance » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:40 am

Priyanka, this is a neat project--essentially you are trying to vaccinate a plant, and I don't know if that's been done before or if it's feasible, but it's certainly worth testing. You might do some background research on how plants fight disease.
I sort of think your idea of a heat-inactivated virus might be better than just dilution, if you can't find the weakened virus you're looking for--but, your background research might help you consider what is the best route to go.
Good luck!
Amber Dance
Science Buddy

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Postby Willz » Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:57 pm


In addition to the variables mentioned above, you might also consider comparing the effect of the TMV inoculation on plants that are at different stages of their life.

Good luck!

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