Virus Testing

Back to tips

A simple virus testing kit imported by Easy Orchids is now available from some suppliers. It tests for two of the more common viruses, namely Cymbidium Mosaic Virus (CMV) and Odontoglossum Ringspot Virus (ORV). Given the hassles now associated with having testing done in Tasmania, it provides a relatively cheap (around $10) and easy approach, even though limited to only two virus types.

The test involves taking a small piece of plant tissue (approx 2 cm square), placing it in a plastic bag with 1 ml of extraction buffer (liquid) and crushing the tissue in the buffer solution to produce a green liquid. Three drops of this green liquid are placed on the test aparatus and after three minutes the results can be read.

I applied the test to a suspect cymbidium. Image shows leaf from which a sample was taken.

 Click to view large picture

Another leaf sample is shown here. Necrosis is clearly obvious, a common result of virus.


 Click to view large picture

The test results on the aparatus are shown here. The test on the left is from a clean plant. The results for my suspect orchid are shown on the right and indicates the orchid had both viruses. The positive result for ORV was surprising as the plant did not show the typical circular markings.

 Click to view large picture

In conclusion, the test kits would appear to be useful. However, although the cost is not high, it should be remembered that the test is only for two virus types. Hobby growers may prefer to adopt the approach if in doubt, chuck it out.

Back to tips