The most widely used staining procedure in recent electron microscope studies of virus-infected plants has involved the use of uranyl acetate, either during dehydration or as a post-stain, together with lead citrate as a post-stain (Arnott & Smith, 1968; Milne & de Zoeten, 1967). Following the recent demonstration that the appearance of tobacco mosaic virus in thin section could be altered by prolonging the duration of dehydration staining with uranyl acetate (Cocking & Pojnar, 1968), the use of other heavy-metal stains for dehydration staining, both alone and in combination with uranyl acetate, has been investigated. A double-staining procedure using phosphotungstic acid and uranyl acetate has been developed and the potential of this procedure in electron-microscope studies of virus infection is discussed.

Phosphotungstic acid has been known for many years to give high contrast when used as a tissue stain during dehydration (Huxley, 1958).


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