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Thread: Envenomated agar? Any one try this?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Envenomated agar? Any one try this?

    Not that i have immediate plans for this knowledge but I've been reading all over about agar work and one bizare thing I came across was utilizing envenomated agar! That is, adding a percentage of powdered snake venom to your agar mix to help with the sprouting of hard to sprout seeds/spores and making invitro mushroom mycelium hybrids by the venom weakening the cell walls of whatever is placed on it but I assume it's easy to overdo it and kill the culture.

    Unfortunately no ratios were given as to how much is used in a liter of agar solution. Sigma chemical sells a variety of powdered snake venoms but in microgram increments, it ain't cheap, so I assume not much is required.

    How about adding powdered activated carbon in your agar to get fewer contaminations? Phyto Tek Labs even sells orchid agar mixes with activated carbon already added, is it worth it? Of course you must use sterile technique with agar but any extra preventitive is a plus in my book.

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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    My cohort who does TC uses the activated carbon in some flasks with good results. There are some plants (like P. filifolia) that seem to produce a toxin that builds up in the agar, using the carbon can extend the period of time the plants can stay in flask without being transfered to new media. But it is not a fail-safe under those circumstances, you still have to attend to them regularly.
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input Pyro, I suppose rain/watering washes those self-produced waste chemicals away whereas on agar they just sit there and build up. Good to know! On average how often does your pal do transfers? Monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly?

    I got excited over the idea of less contams getting a foothold and bought a screw top 900 g container of activated charcoal and powdered it in a coffee grinder, at 1 - 5 g per liter I'll probably never need another box.

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    Could you kindly reference this article? It seems difficult to believe that cytotoxic/hemotoxic snake venom would be effective against plants. Animals cells have membranes which certain snake toxins indeed do destroy, but plants have cell walls. It is almost unfathomable that mother nature would endow snakes with enzymes targeting plant cell walls since they are not a food target and require no immobilization for an animal such as a snake to consume.
    Thanks.

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    Snakes don't need venom to immobilize a plant, but use it instead as a salad dressing.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    swords's Avatar
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    I have no idea where the original study is or who performed it but it was being discussed in another online forum in the context of agar work with creating mushroom hybrids. Someone must have a use for it since you can buy a huge variety of venoms from here just search "powdered snake venom":
    http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/homepage...talogHome.html

    If you were interested enough you could contact Sigma and see what uses they sell it for, maybe they can give you some reference, I just thought it was weird!

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    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    Hey Swords,

    Yeah, in nature the plant toxins are washed away but in flask they just continue to accumulate till they reach self toxic levels.

    AS for schedule of transferring, it depends on the plant. With those that produce a toxin it is usually obvious when it needs to be done because the media goes from clear to straw to yellow to orange to brown. The orange/brown level is where toxic effects begin to be noticed. If the plants do not produce toxins then it is dependent on the growth of the plant. Something that divides prolifically (like D. falconeri) can be thinned and transfered every 3-4 weeks. Other things that go slow can stay in flask for months on end.

    Dnieter,

    Just because the venom of snakes was evolved to effect does not mean it can not effect plants. Many proteins have multiple effects aside from their principle one. On the topic of venom there are spiders in Australia that are only hyper-toxic to humans and other primates. Just a bizarre side effect of them evolving venom to subdue their insect prey.

    And based on what Swords said, it was principally used on mushrooms and the cells of fungi are more like those of an animal than that of a plant so the venom is more likely to have an effect on them.
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

    See You Space Cowboy

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    Thanks Pyro, do the plants toxin colors show up on the agar containing activated charcoal? I've only seen one pic of charcoaled agar - it was quite dark. That's the main drawback I can see with it, is not knowing whether something like that is happening.

    I guess that's what experimenting is for!

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