Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Watch Out, Invasive Weeds--These Fungi Are Killers! / November 2, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS News and Information Search News and Info Science for Kids Image Gallery Agricultural Research Magazine Publications and Newsletters News Archive News and Info home ARS News and Information
Latest news | Subscribe

Bookmark this page for the latest news about ARS research.

Photo: Flowering kudzu is a fast-growing legume with a grapelike odor. Link to photo information Click image for caption and other photo information.

Read the magazine story to find out more.

Watch Out, Invasive Weeds--These Fungi Are Killers!

By Jennifer Arnold
November 2, 2001

Agricultural Research Service fungi experts have identified new fungal species that scientists at several U.S. laboratories are testing as biocontrols for some of the United States’ major invasive weeds.

American farmers and homeowners spend millions to control weeds and other organisms introduced from foreign countries. With the increase in international trade and travel, the number of outside species becoming established in this country is growing every year. Fungi provide a vast arsenal of ammunition to control noxious weeds--both established and newly arrived--that invade roadsides, rangelands and waterways, crowding out useful and native plants.

ARS mycologist Amy Y. Rossman, who heads the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., says that fungi are among the most biologically diverse organisms on Earth. Once discovered and characterized, many previously unknown species can be put to work.

ARS mycologist David F. Farr at Rossman’s lab is curator of the ARS-Smithsonian U.S. National Fungus Collections maintained at Beltsville. Farr uses the 1 million fungal specimens in the collection to discover, name, scientifically describe and classify agriculturally important fungi.

Once characterized, the weed-control potential of these organisms can be tested in field and lab experiments. Farr recently discovered several fungi--two new to science-- that may offer nonchemical control of ragweed, purple loosestrife, kudzu and morning glory. They are being tested at several ARS research laboratories in the United States.

For more details on this research, see the November 2001 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

Top | News Staff | Photo Staff

E-mail the web team Privacy and other policies Site map About ARS Information Staff Bottom menu

Home | News | Pubs | Magazine | Photos | Sci4Kids | Search
About ARS Info | Site map | Policies | E-mail us

Last Modified: 1/3/2002
Footer Content Back to Top of Page