Procedures for Virus Work

Before starting a project with virus inoculated plants, consult the Greenhouse Supervisor as to the scope of the project, the supplies needed and the greenhouse or growth chamber area that will be used. This will prevent accidents that can ruin your project as well as the projects of other researchers.

Do not bring plants into the greenhouse from outside the facility without having them inspected by the greenhouse management. If possible, it is highly encouraged to start plants from seed in the facility to prevent insect and disease problems from being introduced. Plants brought into the greenhouse or growth chambers without authorization will cause the principal investigator to be charged a $100.00 inspection fee. An additional fee of $150.00 will also be charged for spraying plants and decontaminating the greenhouse / growth chambers if the plants are infected with insects or disease.

If the plants being used for virus inoculation are engineered, a copy of the permit for the engineered plants must be submitted to the greenhouse supervisor.

Virus inoculation work can only be performed in the laboratories of the headhouse or at a location approved by the greenhouse management if the laboratories are in use. Notify greenhouse management of your intention to inoculate plants before you start.

Bench coat paper must be used at all times when working on counter tops and tables to absorb spills.

Gloves must be worn at all times when handling virus inoculum and virus infected plants. Be aware of what you are touching and avoid contaminating chairs, doorknobs, marking pens, doors to the growth chambers, watering cans and etc. Remove gloves when walking through the facility and opening doors to laboratory, greenhouse or restroom. NOTE: If by accident you should contaminate something, please clean it immediately!

Cleaning must be done with a 10% bleach solution that is available in a spray bottle in the main work area. The work surface where the inoculation is being performed must be cleaned when your work is completed. All other surfaces that come in direct contact with the infected plants or inoculating material such as a wall, cart or door must also be cleaned in the same manner. Please wipe down the spray bottle with its contents when you are finished using it.

All disposable materials used in the inoculation process must be placed in an autoclave bag and sterilized before disposal. After the materials are sterilized, please put them directly into the garbage dumpster, not into a garbage can.

If the virus inoculated plants are to be put into a growth chamber, wash off corundum on plants after they are put into the growth chamber. This will prevent spilling contaminated water in the work area. If the plants are to be put into the greenhouse, place them on the floor of the greenhouse near the floor drain to rinse them off. Be careful not to contaminate other plants or benches in the greenhouse.

When watering plants, make sure that no part of the watering can or hose touches the infected plants. This common mistake has caused many viral outbreaks to occur. If this should happen the hose or watering can must be cleaned with a 10% bleach solution. Also make sure your hands or gloves are not contaminated when handling the hose or watering can.

A growth chamber or greenhouse being used for virus infected plants must have a sign on the door warning that virus work is being performed. A sign for this purpose is available from the greenhouse management.

Virus infected plants cannot be repotted, so please plan accordingly. If it should become absolutely necessary to repot these plants, see the greenhouse management for the proper procedure. Do not attempt to do this by yourself or without notifying the greenhouse management.

When working on your plants, work on your clean (virus free) plants first so as to prevent contamination from your infected plants. Wearing a lab coat to protect your clothing is highly recommended.

When your project is finished, all plants including their pots must be placed in an autoclave bag and sterilized. Please place sterilized plant materials directly into the garbage dumpster, not into garbage cans. Do not leave bags of unsterilized plant materials in your greenhouse or growth chamber. Sterilize unwanted plant materials as soon as possible.

The trays used for virus-infected plants can be reused after cleaning in a 10% bleach solution. See greenhouse management for details.

When you are finished with your virus work or are planning to start a new virus project, notify the greenhouse management for cleaning of the growth chamber or greenhouse. Please make sure to inform the greenhouse management at least three days in advance of the need for cleaning so that the growth chamber or greenhouse will be ready for your next project.


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences