Growing Arabidopsis?

Grant R. Cramer cramer at UNR.EDU
Mon Aug 2 09:52:59 EST 1999

We have tried this method as well (and about 200 others!). There are two
problems with this technique: One, although the roots grow in phytagel and
agar, they grow much more slowly than in rockwool. I suspect that aeration
is inadequate. Plants are downright puny when grown by this method. And two,
there is a big problem with transplant shock (as you pointed out), even if
you include the gel (because it is quite soft and floppy). These seedlings
are tiny and very delicate. With rockwool, you won't have aeration problems
and if you must transplant, you can plant in a large enough cube and the
material is firm enough that you can transplant without shocking the plant.
Grant R. Cramer
Associate Professor
Mail Stop 200
Department of Biochemistry
University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557
phone: (775) 784-4204
fax: (775) 784-1650
email: cramer at
web page: http://BIOCHEM.MED.UNR.EDU/faculty/grant_c/

>From: koning at (Ross Koning)
>To: plant-ed at
>Subject: Re: Growing Arabidopsis?
>Date: Sun, Aug 1, 1999, 2:21 PM

> Getting the seeds to sprout on a simple mineral-
> phytagel plate is easy (I have used MS salts and
> Knopps with equal success).  The problem comes when
> students try to move them to soil. The young seedlings
> can take NO root-abuse in that stage. The problem here
> was solved by letting the students move each seedling
> with the phytagel INTACT...carving out a block that
> included the root and planting the whole block.  Once
> I figured that out, all my students had success with
> their "mystery mutant" arabidopsis plants. To get the
> seeds sown in the plates thinly enough I found that
> a SMALL quantity of seeds in a microfuge tube are held
> well on the walls of the tube by static electricity
> (or other forces). This allows the student to tap
> on the tube to release just one seed at a time and
> get them spaced apart widely in the dish so that
> root damage can be minimized at the transplant time.
> ross
> At 12:58 PM -0400 7/29/99, Jon Monroe wrote:
>>We grow Arabidopsis plants in 5" plastic pots.  Eight pots are held
>>in 22" x 11" trays and 12 trays fit on a growth cart on wheels.  I've
>>purchased all of these items from a place called Grower's Supply in
>>Ann Arbor MI (313-426-5852).  Another source of Arabidopsis-specific
>>growing supplies is Lehle Seeds (  I'm
>>sure there are other good suppliers out there.  I fill the trays
>>1/3-1/2 full with nutrient solution at planting and then add tap
>>water when they run out - about every third day initially and almost
>>every day when they get larger.
>>I had the same problem with seedling death-for-no-apparent-reason
>>earlier this year so I checked the archives of the Arabidopsis
>>newsgroup ( and learned
>>that this is a somewhat common problem!  No one appears to have has
>>spent the time to figure out the cause, but the most frequent advice
>>I saw was to switch soil brands.  I was using Pro-Mix BX when the
>>problem started so I tried Sunshine Mix and MetroMix and plants grew
>>normally on both of them.  Interestingly, people had the same problem
>>with a variety of soil mixes so when it happens again I'll switch
>>Hope this helps.
>>>Does anyone have a good system for growing Arabidopsis?  Mine get to the
>>>seedling stage but then die because I can't seem to keep them from getting
>>>either too dry or too wet.
>>>Dr. Robert R. Wise
>>>Department of Biology
>>>University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
>>>Oshkosh, WI 54901
>>>(920) 42403404
>>>wise at
>>  Jonathan D. Monroe           Associate Professor
>>  Department of Biology       office: 540-568-6649
>>  MSC 7801                       lab: 540-568-6045
>>  James Madison University       fax: 540-568-3333
>>  Harrisonburg, VA 22807   email: monroejd at
> ________________________________________________________________
> Ross Koning                 | koning at
> Biology Department          |
> Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
> Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
> ____________________________|___________________________________
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