[permaculture] Fungus Could Be Kudzu Killer

paul wheaton paul at richsoil.com
Tue Aug 11 14:16:11 EDT 2009


My impression is that kudzu is great stuff when you work with it.  It
really sucks for fallow land or for monocultures.

Not so?



On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM, mIEKAL aND<qazingulaza at gmail.com> wrote:
> (Interesting how "The fungus produces chemicals called tricothecenes,
> which can damage the health of humans and animals." isn't a show
> stopper...)
>
> Fungus Could Be Kudzu Killer
>
> http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=fungus-could-be-kudzu-killer-09-08-11
>
> Scientists at the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research
> Service are testing a fungus that could one day be sent into battle
> against the land-grabbing vine kudzu. Steve Mirsky reports.
>
> It’s been called the “vine that ate the south.” Kudzu grows so fast it
> can completely cover a cabin in the woods in a couple of days. The
> invasive plant takes over another 150,000 acres every year. Which
> costs another $6 million to control.
>
> But plant pathologists with the US Department of Agriculture’s
> Research Service have gotten promising results with a fungus that
> itself rapidly spreads in kudzu. The fungus is called Myrothecium
> verrucaria. In early tests, the fungus killed all kudzu seedlings and
> at least 90 percent of older plants. Most important, Myrothecium did
> little or no damage to the species that commonly live in habitats
> infested with kudzu, such as pine, oak, cedar, pecan, hickory,
> blackberry and, of course, sassafras.
>
> So what’s the catch? The fungus produces chemicals called
> tricothecenes, which can damage the health of humans and animals. But
> the researchers discovered that if they grew the fungus in a fermenter
> or on a liquid diet, the production of the toxins fell precipitously.
> If the fungus can be safely let loose one day, it could finally give
> kudzu the heave-ho.
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