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Elimination of toxicity from polyurethane foam plugs used for plant culturePolyurethane foam plugs commonly are used as collars or supports to grow plants in solution culture. Despite their utility, these foam plugs can be quite toxic to plants, particularly to small seedlings. We have observed tissue injury in tests using plugs to support lettuce, red beet, and potato plants in solution culture. Typically, the injury is initiated on the hypocotyl or stem tissue in direct contact with the foam, and appears within 30 hr as a brownish discoloration on the tissue surface. This discoloration can be followed by complete collapse of affected tissue and eventual death of the seedling. When injury does not progress beyond surface browning, the seedling survives but growth is slowed. In this paper, we report on different treatments that can be used to remove the toxicity of these plugs so they can be used in plant research.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Wheeler, R. M.
(University of Wisconsin Madison 53706, United States)
Schwartzkopf, S. H.
Tibbitts, T. W.
Langhans, R. W.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: HortScience : a publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Volume: 20
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0018-5345
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Life Support Systems

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