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Virus?

This is a discussion on Virus? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; By the way, I've heard from a few different people that the smoker/tobacco virus thing ...

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  1. #11
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    By the way, I've heard from a few different people that the smoker/tobacco virus thing is a myth.

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    Sue, are you serious? That's the most prevalent one in all the literature!

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    Yeah, I know. I've seen that said everywhere. Never made much sense to me, as most smokers don't touch the tobacco leaves, but only get smoke residue on their hands, which seems rather unlikely to carry a virus with it. Furthermore, while I know it isn't possible for every plant to get every virus, it seems unlikely that tobacco-water would be so widely recommended as a remedy for, e.g., aphids, if it were possible for the mosaic virus to survive the tobacco curing and aging process.

    So it always just seemed wrong to me. Since then I've heard a couple of (reputable) people say it's a myth, but, unfortunately, without explanation.

    So I certainly can't say for sure, but it certainly seems unlikely, and I've never heard an account of how the virus could survive the drying, curing, and burning process which precedes the presence of tobacco residue on the hands of a smoker.

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    What you're saying makes sense. I think it's worth writing in to the AOS about. They might publish a reply in ORCHIDS.

    That would really be something if TMV infecting orchid plants was really just a myth. I guess you hear something often enough, you just start believing it.

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    I think it is kind of far fetched, but anything is possible. I think the smoke alone would be enough to choke a plant.

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    lja:

    I'm certainly not saying that TMV doesn't affect orchids; I assume it does. What I am doubtful of is whether the virus can be transferred through foliar application of residue produced by burning dried aged infected material.

    Traci:

    Do keep in mind that the harmful contents of tobacco were produced by a plant, in order to harm animals who might otherwise eat the plant. All that stuff is bad for us and bad for insects, but not necessarily at all bad for plants. Otherwise people wouldn't use tobacco 'teas' as foliar pesticide spray.

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    Sue, I wonder if the TMV doesn't go dormant when conditions aren't good for proliferation. If it does, and it can survive the tobacco drying and aging process in a dormant state, it may be transfered not by the residue that accumulates on one's fingers from burning a cigarette, but by the loose tobacco found inside every pack, with which every smoker comes into contact at one point or another in the process of removing a cigarette. And certainly pipe smokers, cigar smokers, chewers, and snuff-huffers handle the product directly and repetitively.

    So if TMV does affect orchids, and the virus encapsulates under adverse conditions, there are plenty of opportunities for foliar transference when orchid plants are handled by tobacco users.

    I have also heard of tobacco tea being used as (very effective) insecticide, but have never heard of it being recommended for orchid plants.

    Maybe that note to the AOS should wait a while, after all.....


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    Originally posted by lja
    Sue, I wonder if the TMV doesn't go dormant when conditions aren't good for proliferation. If it does, and it can survive the tobacco drying and aging process in a dormant state, it may be transfered not by the residue that accumulates on one's fingers from burning a cigarette, but by the loose tobacco found inside every pack, with which every smoker comes into contact at one point or another in the process of removing a cigarette. And certainly pipe smokers, cigar smokers, chewers, and snuff-huffers handle the product directly and repetitively.
    Yes, these are all good points. I think we'd need to get a biologist around for any real answers here.

    The term "snuff-huffers" amuses me in particular, BTW. It reminds me of the term "nerf-herder".

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    LOL! I've never heard the term "nerf-herder" before but I like the sound of it. What is one?

    I'd like to hear from a biologist about this too. (Not nerf-herding--lol!)

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    "Nerf-herder" is a fictional insult from the (original) Star Wars movies. The specific quote, according to a quick web search, was "Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy nerf herder!"

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