, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 480-485

The fungicidal and phytotoxic properties of benomyl and PPM in supplemented agar media supporting transgenic arabidopsis plants for a Space Shuttle flight experiment

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Abstract.

Fungal contamination is a significant problem in the use of sucrose-enriched agar-based media for plant culture, especially in closed habitats such as the Space Shuttle. While a variety of fungicides are commercially available, not all are equal in their effectiveness in inhibiting fungal contamination. In addition, fungicide effectiveness must be weighed against its phytotoxicity and in this case, its influence on transgene expression. In a series of experiments designed to optimize media composition for a recent shuttle mission, the fungicide benomyl and the biocide "Plant Preservative Mixture" (PPM) were evaluated for effectiveness in controlling three common fungal contaminants, as well as their impact on the growth and development of arabidopsis seedlings. Benomyl proved to be an effective inhibitor of all three contaminants in concentrations as low as 2 ppm (parts per million) within the agar medium, and no evidence of phytotoxicity was observed until concentrations exceeded 20 ppm. The biocide mix PPM was effective as a fungicide only at concentrations that had deleterious effects on arabidopsis seedlings. As a result of these findings, a concentration of 3 ppm benomyl was used in the media for experiment PGIM-01 which flew on shuttle Columbia mission STS-93 in July 1999.

Received revision: 30 August 2000
Electronic Publication