Indoor plants Making people sick

Sooty blotch and flyspeck on appleThis article was published originally on //

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by Christine Engelbrecht, Plant Pathology

I frequently give talks to gardeners, and pictures of deformed squash infected with a virus are some of my favorite shots to share. Inevitably, someone asks, "Could I catch the virus that made that plant sick?"

In most cases, the answer is no. The fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes that cause disease in plants are very different from those that cause disease in humans and other animals. Eating or touching an infected plant would not infect us with the same pathogen that is making the plant sick.

However, produce from sick plants often has a flavor or texture very different from healthy produce, so eating it may not be desirable anyway. Unless the disease is merely a superficial spot (such as sooty blotch and flyspeck on an apple), it may be best to avoid diseased produce.

There are very few pathogens that can infect humans as well as plants, and those that do tend to be "opportunistic pathogens" of both, only able to infect weakened hosts. Perhaps the most notable of these pathogens is the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause a weak soft rot of plants such as lettuce. In people with compromised immune systems, this bacterium is known to infect the urinary tract, lungs, blood, and burns and other wounds.Zucchini yellow mosaic virus AIDS, or cystic fibrosis. For most of us (and for most healthy plants), P. aeruginosa is not a concern.

Some fungi that live on decaying plants can cause disease in humans. One example is Sporothrix schenckii, a fungus that frequently lives on dead rose thorns. This fungus can cause sporotrichosis, also called "rose-picker's disease", if it gets into a person's skin (such as through a scratch) and into the lymph system, or if a person inhales its spores. Symptoms of this disease in humans can include problems with the lungs, eyes, central nervous system, bones and joints. For more interesting information on this fungus, including a gory picture of infected skin, please see


Wrong. Plants grow significantly faster

2009-12-15 14:13:49 by sailorgreg

With added CO2. Ask any indoor pot farmer.
"Last time I checked carbon is not a limiting factor for plant growth"
You need to look up photosynthesis. CO2 + water + sunlight is what plants have to have to grow.
In the past CO2 levels where 10 times as high as now and we were in a great ice age both times. Plants remove CO2 from the air.


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