Science Project

mmalloy at mmalloy at
Wed Oct 28 00:35:16 EST 1998

Someone please help.

My daughter is in the 6th grade.  She has expressed interest to me in making a
science project by demonstration of a Scientific Method for her Science Fair.

I am trying to help her get started.

The subject she picked (plant pathology) is called: "How Effective is Beta
Carotene in Fighting Cancer in Plants?".

Purpose: To determine whether beta carotene has any substantial effect in
reducing or eliminating the presence of Agrobacterium tumefaciens in plants.

We have been searching the internet for additional information about this

The best I can tell is that we are experimenting with Crown Gall disease.  Is
that correct?

The written procedure we have calls for the use of Sun Flowers germinated
from seeds that were treated with beta carotene solution but this seems like
it might take too long to go all the way through the germination phase as
well as the growth, and infection ... phases.  The project will be due in 2

I was wondering if anyone reading this could help with advice and/or
suggestions on the project like:

1.  An alternative plant (fast growing and easy to infect) that we could get
from a local florist or green house.  One thing I read said to use tomato
plants. Would this work ok?  What other plants might be good for this time of
the year grown inside with a plant light like ordinary house plants in two
months time?

2.  A source for the Agrobacterium tumefaciens culture:  I have only been
able to find one source - on the internet - which was posted on a bionet news
forum leading to:, which turns out to be a supply house for
cultures, but they have 20 modified strains of Agrobacterium tumefaciens to
choose from, some of them would cost over $100.00 !?  Which one should be
used for a 5th grade science project?  Am I looking in the wrong direction? 
I am not a genetic engineer nor is my daughter. I haven't tried to purchase a
culture yet.

3.  A source for the beta carotene in semi-pure form (reagent) that could be
measured, mixed and diluted to desired strength.

4.  Any tips on how to insure that the procedure might work.  Alternative
methods, safety, etc.

5.  I was wondering if Agrobacterium tumefaciens cultures are considered
bio-hazards and could we even buy it without lab qualifications?

Please E-mail comments
ANY information on this subject would be of help.

mmalloy at

Thank you for your help.

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