roots were infected with TMV by addition of virus to the medium at the same time as root inoculation. Viral accumulation in the biomass was 7a??11-fold greater when the initial infection was carried out in B5 medium rather than sodium phosphate buffer; virus accumulation also increased with increasing viral inoculum concentration. The amount of TMV accumulated in the biomass was similar when virus was retained in the medium for the duration of the cultures and when the inoculum virus was removed 23 h after addition to the roots. In roots with established infections, the concentration of virus remained relatively constant and did not increase with further root growth. The distribution of virus within individual root mats harvested from shake flasks was not uniform; there was also significant variability in viral accumulation between replicate hairy root cultures. The picture that emerges from this work is that in vitro viral accumulation in hairy root cultures depends strongly on the viral inoculum concentration applied and the initial level of primary infection achieved, even though primary infection by external virus occurs mainly within only the first few hours of exposure to the biomass and is followed by substantial secondary infection by viral progeny within the root tissue.