The Q&A Archives: Do Sunflowers Get Crown Galls?

Question: I am doing a science fair project on the effect of beta carotene on Agrobacterium Tumefaciens (the pathenogen that causes crown galls) and I need a plant to test on. Someone has suggested to me that I use sunflowers because of the thickness of their stems. Do sunflowers get crown galls?

Answer: Sunflower, willow, raspberry, and peach are all susceptible to crown gall, so sunflower is a good test plant for you. A gall produced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens is unique among all other plant galls in that it is malignant. That is, once the plant cells have been stimulated by the bacteria to divide and enlarge, they continue to divide as long as they can obtain nutrients. Other bacterias cause galls which act in accordance to hormonal controls from the parent plant which regulate growth and differentiation.

Good luck with your experiment!

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