According to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Researchers, Vivavores Consume Viruses In Water So Can They Also Kill Plant Viruses?
This article investigates the potential of plant based vivavores being used to kill plant viruses. It is written following the work of researcher John DeLong at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who discovered a ciliate microbe called Halteria that appeared to be consuming viruses.
Several experiments were carried out where numbers of both Halteria, or Paramecium, plus viruses in water were counted over time. In the first tests virus numbers went down dramatically whilst Halteria numbers climbed. Then they tried the Halteria in water without the viruses. There was no growth.
To ensure this wasn’t coincidental DeLong then tagged the virus DNA with a fluorescent dye and soon found the Halteria cells started to glow! QED. It seems the Halteria were consuming viruses.
What About Vivavores in Plants?
So far there is only evidence of a couple of forms of vivavore found and it operates in water. Clearly where one exists there could well be others. After all, we don’t see just one carnivore, or one herbivore. What works for one species tends to be copied by others.
However, there’s no proof that other Vivavores exist or that they could operate within plants and kills plant viruses.
A Vivavore Thought Experiment
Einstein discovered relativity by conducting thought experiments. So why shouldn’t gardeners?
Let’s think about tomato and potato blight, which is caused by an oomycete, which is virus like. And yes I know I’m stretching my imagination here, but it’s a thought experiment.
Blight infestation starts with the oomycete blowing onto the plant surface where it requires humidity to be able to infest the plant. Say we spray a dried preparation of a ciliate organism onto the plant and that it activates when the humidity reaches a certain level. Could such an organism attack and consume the virus like oomycete before it infects the plant?
It is possible in this thought experiment but I suggest we are a long way from this in reality. But all new discoveries start a long way from reality as just ideas. And maybe this idea will become reality one day!
There are a couple of sources of information on Vivavores that I recommend reading. The first is an article about the research.
For those wanting to understand in more depth the second link is to the research paper as published by DeLong et al.
Tag: Plant Based Vivavores