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Invasive kudzu is major factor in surface ozone pollution, study shows
Date:5/17/2010

ecologists and farmers, is now proving to be a potentially serious health threat."

Ozone acts as an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, and can damage the lungs, sometimes causing asthma or worsening asthma symptoms. It also is a mutagen and can cause lung cancer.

Ozone, while essential to the health of the Earth in the upper atmosphere where it shields the surface from excess ultraviolet radiation, is hazardous to human health when it forms at the earth's surface. This occurs most often in the summertime as plants grow and produce chemicals that react with the air.

Introduced to the United States in the late 19th century, kudzu, with its unique nitrogen-fixing physiology, allows a rapid, nearly uninhibited rate of growth, about three times the rate of trees and other vegetation. The vine was cultivated more extensively in the 1920s and 1930s as a control for soil erosion and rapidly became known as "the vine that ate the South."

In recent, milder winters, Kudzu has expanded its range northward into Pennsylvania and New York.

"What was once a Southern problem is now becoming an East Coast issue," Lerdau said.

Various strategies are used for controlling and eradicating kudzu, including livestock grazing, burning, mowing and herbicides.


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Contact: Fariss Samarrai
fls4f@virginia.edu
434-924-3778
University of Virginia
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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