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Issue: December 2001
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Northern PlainFacts.PlainFacts title extension.

Issue: December 2001

The Northern PlainFacts from the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, offers brief updates on research, personnel and events at the lab, and includes contact names and e-mail addresses for those interested in further details.

In This Month's Issue:

Scientist Tests Granular Soil Fungi Formulation

Ecologist Participates in Weed Mapping Sessions

NPARL Tech Recognizedfor Interagency Work

International Weed Symposium CD Available

New Leafy Spurge BiologicalControl CD Available



Research Microbiologist TheCan Caesar is collaborating with Research Chemists William Connick and Don Daigle (USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center, Commodity Utilization Research Unit) in testing six new granular formulations of basidiomycete fungi that have the capability to aggregate soil, developed by SRRC for commercial application in agriculture. The different formulations being tested by Dr. Caesar use varying substrates, including a number of agricultural waste products such as bagasse, a sugar cane residue, and corn cob grits to deliver the fungi. Caesar met with Connick and Daigle while in New Orleans Dec. 11-16th to discuss the project on fungal formulations and to present an invitational seminar on "Basideomycetes as beneficial fungi in agriculture." Caesar is now testing how well the basidiomycete fungi establish under each formulation and how efficiently they aggregate soil and produce lignin-decomposing enzymes. In another related and pioneering project, Caesar and fellow NPARL Plant Pathologist Robert T. Lartey have shown that basidiomycete enzymes, such as laccase, have the potential to degrade cercosporin, a toxic compound produced by the pathogenic fungus Cercospora beticola on sugarbeets.

(TheCan Caesar, 406-433-9415, caesart[at]

(Robert T. Lartey, 406-433-9490, rlartey[at]


Dr. Gerry Anderson, an ecologist and remote sensing specialist at NPARL, participated in a February 26 meeting of the Colorado Salt Cedar Consortium at Grand Junction CO. The consortium was planning for next summer's salt cedar research effort in the state which includes studies to determine the most cost effective methods for mapping the weed across Colorado. The Consortium is made up of a number of federal, state and private organizations. Dr. Anderson also participated in the Feb. 27th meeting in Denver of the Invasive Weeds Mapping Coalition. At that session, Coalition members reviewed mapping work completed and data collected to date in various efforts as well as determining what still needs to be done and who will lead each research effort. Dr. Anderson has done extensive remote sensing / weed mapping work with USDA-ARS TEAM Leafy Spurge, a five-year IPM research and demonstration project, which he heads.

(Gerry Anderson, 406-433-9416, ganderson[at]


NPARL Biological Science Technician Mary Mayer received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs recently for her assistance in their Integrated Noxious Weed Management Program this past year. Mayer worked with BIA's Dan Spencer at Fort Belknap helping to collect, release and monitor biological control agents for leafy spurge, Canada thistle and poison hemlock. Mayer also provided information on weed and insect biology, life cycles, and more. In addition to her work with the aforementioned weeds, Mayer has also done extensive work with knapweeds at NPARL.

(Mary Mayer, 406-433-9426, mayerm[at]


For the first time in its 30 year history, the proceedings of the International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds are available on CD-ROM. Now available from NPARL, the CD features the entire 1,030-page book from the X International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds held in Bozeman, MT, July 4-14, 1999. The CD was developed under the direction of X Symposium Co-Chair and Proceedings Editor Neal Spencer (now with USDA-ARS Plant Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Ithaca, NY). The project was coordinated by Stephanie Sword of Sidney, MT, with support from NPARL staff. In addition to the proceedings, the CD also contains photographs from the event and the full text of "Host Specificity Testing of Exotic Arthropod Biological Control Agents - The Biological Basis for Improvement in Safety," another X Symposium document, published by the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. Registered X Symposium participants automatically received a copy of the CD. Other interested persons should contact Beth Redlin to request their own free copy. Redlin can be reached by post at USDA-ARS NPARL, Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270; by e-mail at bredlin[at], or by phone at 406-433-9427. X Symposium CDs are also available from Spencer by e-mailing requests to nrs23[at] . Please include full name and mailing address in all correspondence.


"Biological Control of Leafy Spurge: Informational Resource CD," the first release in TEAM Leafy Spurge's IPM Information Series, is now available. The CD offers a comprehensive overview of how to get and use biological control agents to control leafy spurge. It is intended as a companion to the "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge" manual which has been distributed to more than 38,000 individuals, organizations and agencies in 27 states and four Canadian provinces. The popular manual is included on the new CD in pdf format along with a "how-to" PowerPoint presentation on biological control of spurge; a poster/publication section, a photo gallery, an extensive bibliography, and more. The TEAM Leafy Spurge CD was produced by Steve Merritt, former TLS technical information specialist, and R. D. Richard, USDA-APHIS PPQ in Bozeman, MT, along with the aid of NPARL staff. (Richard coauthored a leafy spurge photo gallery CD also issued by TEAM Leafy Spurge in January 2000. That product has been incorporated into this latest offering to provide end users with a convenient, single source of reference on the biological control of leafy spurge.) In addition to biological control, future CDs in the TEAM Leafy Spurge IPM series will cover leafy spurge and grazing, along with herbicide use. To order the "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge: Informational Resource CD" contact Beth Redlin or Jill Miller at USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270; voice: 406-433-9427; fax: 406-433-5038; bredlin[at] or jmiller[at] The CD is free. TEAM Leafy Spurge is a five-year research and demonstration project funded by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in cooperation with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.


Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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