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February 17, 1945

Current Comment

JAMA. 1945;127(7):400. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860070032013

TREATMENT OF PLANT DISEASE WITH PENICILLIN  The first successful application of penicillin to phytotherapy is reported by Brown and Boyle1 of the Agriculture Experiment Station, Tucson, Ariz. The plant disease treated by them was crown gall of Bryophyllum, caused by local inoculation with a pure culture of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The penicillin preparation used for treatment was a crude product which assayed but 2 to 6 Oxford units per cubic centimeter. Penicillin soaked cotton was wrapped round the galls and the gall then punctured in numerous places with a sterile needle. The gall tissues began to turn brown soon after treatment. Complete destruction of the gall followed, with negligible injury to the surrounding normal plant tissues. On account of the economic loss from crown gall in the Southwest, the Arizona investigators recommend the application of penicillin therapy to set trees and nursery stock. Crude penicillin can be prepared by