Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) provides an excellent model for teaching students about properties of a plant virus and the relationship between a virus and its host plant. This virus is quite stable and transmits easily, thus students can use it quite successfully in the laboratory.
Four activities geared toward grades 9-12 are described. The classroom requirements vary with the activity the teacher selects. All require the ability to grow plants, but the types of laboratory equipment (mortars and pestles, test tubes, etc.) may differ. The virus is available from biological suppliers, but approval for shipping of the virus across state lines must be obtained from the USDA prior to shipment.
University of Delaware