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About TMV

This is a discussion on About TMV within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; It's been awhile since I've posted but I've returned with a question. I gave a ...

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  1. #1
    Sinister is offline Junior Member
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    Default About TMV

    It's been awhile since I've posted but I've returned with a question.
    I gave a (Healthy looking) Phalaenopsis to a friend and I'm worried about it, because my friend has just "decided" to take up smoking cheap generic cigarettes. Now I'm waiting for his Orchid to die of Tobacco Mosaic Virus... What should I do? Should I cross my fingers or take the plant back.
    I've already talked to him about it, but it didn't work.

    Advise please?

    -Sin

  2. #2
    Dana's Avatar
    Dana is offline Senior Member
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    *cough* I'll just come right out of the closet and admit that I'm a smoker :lemmetell
    I don't smoke in the house so It doesn't bother my orchids and I usually was my hands after I'm done smoking (I have forgotten it once or twice before)

    I would suggest casually mentioning to your friend that it's better not to smoke around the orchid as it harms the plant and flowers.
    But I guess that's about all you can do, once you give an orchid away..it's out of your hands.

    It's the same thing as giving some one an orchids and then noticing that it's beeing watered to death...nothing you can do except give the owner some advice...but if he or she doesn't pick up the advice...well then there's nothing you can do , it's not as if you can take the orchid back with you.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Jmoney's Avatar
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    I think your friend should quit smoking for himself, because of the myriad of serious medical problems it is linked to, and not so much for the phal. but that's just me. :/

  4. #4
    Sue's Avatar
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    BTW, I've heard that the idea that TMV can be transferred from smokers is a myth. Take a plant with a virus, dry it, age it, burn it, and then take your hands which have been in the smoke and touch a living plant. Will the virus be on your hands? Will it be intact? I have no idea, but I've heard this is a myth, and that sounds reasonable to me.

    Worry about the smoker, not the plant.

  5. #5
    Sinister is offline Junior Member
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    I waste no time worrying about his habit because he is such an obstinate knownothing. I was once a smoker too, but stopped out of boredom with the habit and because of my plants.

    I admit I have tried to talk him out of it, but it is his right and he makes that painfully clear. As for the TMV I had wondered if that wasn't a line, but I figured that if your plants wouldn't contract TMV, the smoke would still hurt them.

    Either way I have visited his house twice and seen him blowing smoke all over the poor Phal. I mentioned it to him and he shrugged it off. He said the plant would be okay. I assured him the plant wouldn't be okay. He said that he would move the plant to the other side of the room away from his smoking chair. Will that help at all? NO!

    It was a very handsome candystripe but the blooms withered almost the day he started smoking. Ironically, he failed to notice. He's had it for a while now and it hasn't died, but it is looking pitiable. And for one last stab of Irony he is a Respitory Therapist!

    Alas, for a universal truth see my sig.


    -Sin

  6. #6
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    I think your friend should quit smoking for himself, because of the myriad of serious medical problems it is linked to, and not so much for the phal. but that's just me. :/
    Yep. I agree smoking is very bad...it's linked to lung cancer and all those horrible diseases. Well, about the phal--once you give it away, you can't do much to it...you know...just try your best to help your friend grow it correctly...

  7. #7
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    The smoke isn't great for the plants, but a smoke-filled room will blast buds and flowers.

    About the TMV, I want to know once and for all if that virus can encapsulate and go dormant when conditions aren't right: ie, in shredded leaves of dried tobacco, and then rejuvenate when the conditions improve. Sue and I had this discussion some time ago, and we never resolved it. Jason, would you know anything about this?

    BTW, Sinister, your forum email notifications are getting returned. You might need to change your email addy....

  8. #8
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    Certain bacteria & fungi can form spores under adverse conditions that are highly resistant to the elements. Upon the introduction of more favorable conditions, they can start growing again.

    While I admittedly have no experience with TMV, viruses come in two basic flavors, the encapsulated ones (with a lipoprotein coat) and those that just have the plain old polyhedral structural protein capsule. These latter ones can be quite hardy. For example, hepatitis B is just the "hard" protein capsule. It is quite a hardy virus--it can sit on a lab bench exposed to air and what not for some time.

    I don't know how hardy TMV is, but it is certainly plausible that it could remain viable in dried leaves.

  9. #9
    Sinister is offline Junior Member
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    *Sorry about that lja*

    I don't know Tobacco Mosaic Virus was one of the first discovered viruses because of how enormous it was for a virus. It's one of the larger ones. Therefore probably one of the more delicate and fragile viruses.

    My aunt is a virologist/electronmicroscopists, unfortunately she is not handy at the moment.

    My guess would be no.


    -Sin

  10. #10
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    Yay! Science is cool.

    The info on the bud/flower loss is new for me, but I don't smoke regularly, so this isn't an immediate concern. Good to know for when these conversations come up though.

    The thing that I'm still stuck on is whether the TMV, if encapsulated, would survive combustion and be aerially transmitted through the smoke, or, alternately, accumulate in residue upon fingers and be transmitted that way. It doesn't seem improbable that this would occur, but I don't know enough about viruses to know how likely this would be.

    I'm also curious at whether, if the virus is able to survive drying and combustion, soap alone would be sufficient to wash one's tobaccinated hands, or whether a %10 bleach solution or some such would instead be required.

    Maybe we should write to somebody in the horticultural sciences to get this question resolved, finally.

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