Experiments for plants

Marty Kalin Marty at MK.IBEK.COM
Tue Mar 3 12:26:27 EST 1998

Dear Alyson Tobin and other members ofthe Plant Ed-List

I have some ideas for experiments for plants.  I am actively involved in
developing new plant tissue culture protocols and techniques for middle
school, high school and university students as well as commercial labs.
The basis of these new protocols is a new chemical preservative/biocide
which allows students of all ages and lab technicians to perform open
bench plant tissue culture experiments. Using the preservative/biocide
in the media, students can perform experiments without an open flame and
without a laminar flow hood. Good sterile technique is not required,
although it obviously should still be taught and encouraged.  The idea
is to dramatically increase the probability of contamination free plant
tissue cultures. When students experience contamination, both the
student and the teacher get discouraged and therefore tend to avoid
plant tissue culture experiments in class. I recently surveyed this
question and addressed it to the biolab list-server, of which some of
you may be members.

As many of you know, more educators at every level would perform plant
tissue culture experiments if they could address the contamination
problem. I have had teachers complain to me that 100% of their cultures
became contaminated as a result of a lack of hoods or because of a lack
of good sterile technique or contaminated water. Using this chemcial,
along with some simple procedures, it is possible to solve the
contamination problem and to reduce contamination rates to below 10%.

The chemical, called PPM, effectively prevents microbial contaminstion
in plant tissue culture, but at the same time is not phytotoxic. It is
possible for teachers to obtain the chemical for free for testing. I
have been involed in the chemcials development.

An example of how teachers can use this chemical can be found in the
following web sites:.

1) A newspaper article on a sixth grader who wins a science fair doing
plant tissue culture: see:  http://www.mktechnology.com/ericnews.htm

2)  For information on the chemical itself ("PPM"), click on

3) For test results, click on http://www.mktechnology.com/ppmtest3.htm

There are also about a dozen plant tissue culture protocols website for
hobbyists and children. In addition, a number of companies supply plant
tissue culture kits. Of course, I am sure many of you are aware of
Carolina Biological Supply's plant tissue culture kits, Wards Scientific
and Edmond Scientific. But there are other companies as well. There are
also videos available. Please contact me if you want me to list specific
web sites for names of suppliers and protocols. I am in the process of
doing a compliation and may create a web site listing all the links.
Many of these websites have excellent pictures.

Let me know if I can supply additional information on the subject.

Martin Kalin

Alyson Tobin wrote:
> I have been asked to do an exhibition for a science open day that will
> attract members of the public- mainly families with children ranging from 5
> upwards. The aim is to stimulate an interest in plants and to give them
> something that they can try out for themselves- ie simple
> experiments/things to look at. I'd welcome any suggestions from any of you
> with experience of these things.
> Alyson Tobin
> Dr A.K. Tobin
> Plant Science Laboratory
> School of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology
> Sir Harold Mitchell Building
> University of St Andrews
> St Andrews
> KY16 9TH
> UK
> Tel 01334 463375
> Fax 01334 463366

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list