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Methods Mol Biol. 2006;323:13-25.

Prevention and control of pests and diseases.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


A well-controlled growth environment with plants that are not unduly stressed is essential for Arabidopsis molecular biology research. Even if they do not kill the plants outright, insect pests and microbial pathogens can cause subtle changes in gene expression or plant metabolism that affect experimental results. Therefore, regular scouting for infestations, frequent cleaning of plant growth areas, proper disposal of dead or diseased plant material, and controlled access to the greenhouses or growth chambers will help to make experiments more reproducible. Powdery mildew, a fungal pathogen, and arthropod pests, including aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, and spider mites, are the most common greenhouse problems. Biological control methods such as parasitoid wasps and Bacillus thuringiensis crystal toxin can be used to contain some insect infestations. However, if an infestation gets out of hand despite reasonable precautions, insecticide or fungicide spraying by a licensed applicator may be necessary. Bacterial and viral infections of Arabidopsis, though they do occur, tend to be less common and can usually be controlled by maintaining optimal growth conditions and promptly disposing of dead or diseased plant material.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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