Science Project

Tom McCloud McCloud at
Fri Oct 30 16:15:28 EST 1998

Agerobacterium is a normal soil organism and is not a human pathogen.  It can be
purchased from Carolina Biological Supply, Box 6010, Burlington, NC 27216
carolina at      catalog number D8-15-4825,   tube $7.40    Can be
maintained on simple nutrient agars, storred and remain viable for weeks in the
refrigerator.       This bug will also form galls on sterile discs cut out of
potatoes, carrots and other vegetables.    A decreases in the number of galls per
disc has been used as a predictor of anticancer activity.  Take a look at :
1) A blind comparison of simple benchtop bioassays and human tumor cell
cytotoxicities as antitumor prescreens by J.E.  Anderson et al, Phytochemical
Analysis 1991, 2, p.107
2)Crown gall tumors on potato discs and brine shrimp lethality: two simple
bioassays for higher plant screening and fractionation by J.L. McLaughlin  in
Methods in Plant Biochemistry vol.6, 1991
3)Crown gall tumor bioassay by A.G. Galsky   Plant Physiol. 65, 184, 1980
4) Use of potato disc and brind shrimp bioassays to detect activity and isolate
piceatannol as the antileukemic principle from seeds of Euphorbia lagascae  by
N.R. Ferrigni et al  Jol. of Natural Products 47, 347, 1984

The cost of doing this is low, does not require sophisticated apparatus, and
should be within the technical reach of a pretty intelligent 6th
grader.                 Tom McCloud

mmalloy at wrote:

> 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
> experiment.
> 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
> months.
> 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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