[Arabidopsis] Traveling with Arabidopsis seedlings (fwd)

JESSICA M MCABEE jmmcabee at u.washington.edu
Thu Sep 8 15:21:42 EST 2005

Jessica Messmer McAbee, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Department of Biology
Box 355325
Seattle, WA 98195-5325

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 08:14:01 +0200
From: Rejane Pratelli <pratelli at uni-bonn.de>
To: jmmcabee at u.washington.edu
Subject: Traveling with Arabidopsis seedlings

Hi Jessica,

I have to admit I never travelled with Arabidopsis seedlings, but it's probably 
the only thing I didn' t travel with. I already took planes with bacterial and 
yeast strains on Petri dishes, as well as genomic DNA and protein samples from 
Arabidopsis, and I'm quite glad I never had trouble with any of these.

The first thing is to ask your supervisor a very official-looking letter (with 
stamps, titles, signature, etc... )  that you will show to the security guys 
first thing. It should tell that you carry non-hazardous biological samples to 
perform experiments at the University of XXX under the supervision of Prof/Dr 
YYY,  that's enough.  Sometimes a staff card from your Uni/institute helps. 
Show your plates immediately (they won't like it if it's hidden at the bottom 
of your hand-luggage), and insist that they are not to go through the X-ray 
machine as it could damage the plants (but don't bother explaining  about 
mutations, they won't get it :-) ).  That's the difficult part as they really 
don't like that, but you have to be convincing. Tell them again and again that 
it's not dangerous, simply plants that would not be able to survivre outside of 
the Petri, they need the food within (yes, the gelly thingy) to live. With a 
smile and a few technical words to show you know what you're talking about, you 
should get through.  Try to be there early enough to avoid the rush of 
passengers, the security guys will be more relaxed and therefore easier to 
My last piece of advise is that once in the plane, try to keep your Petris 
close at hand rather than in the over-head luggage compartments as they might 
be crushed under other person's luggage... It happened to me the first time I 
flew with samples and I let you imagine how you feel in that situation...

Well.. good luck, and enjoy your trip !!!


Instituet fuer Zellulaere und Molekulare Botanik (IZMB)
NWG Transport in der Mykorrhiza
Kirschallee 1
D-53115 Bonn
Tel: +49 (0) 228 73 6759
Fax: +49 (0) 228 73 6557

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