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Formulas to Help Microbes Clean Up Toxic WasteBy Jill Lee
March 26, 1997
The scientists have successfully harnessed the power of fungi to help banish weeds and insects from farmers fields. A crucial discovery along the way: The right storage formula will make the fungi multiply.
One such formula is wheat-based Pesta, which provides a nourishing home for two biological controls against swamp dodder, a pest of cranberries.
Scientists from New Orleans Tulane University adapted the ARS technology to their work with soil-cleansing fungi. The story of their collaborative efforts with ARS scientists appears in the March issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
The Cold Wars end brought closure for many weapons plants, but toxic TNT residues remain as deadly souvenirs. Phanerochaete chrysosporium, commonly known as white rot fungi, may have the power to break down these poisons into harmless by-products. But before this can happen, a good storage medium must be found.
ARS scientists have developed a wide menu of formulas to keep white rot fungi and other microorganisms thriving so they can reach their full potential as soil cleaners and pest fighters. Their next collaborative project with Tulane: finding the right formula for a mushroom that might cleanse the carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene out of soils.
Scientific contact: William Connick and Don Daigle, ARS Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, La., phone (504) 286-4363/4511, e-mail email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.