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Microorganism may provide key to combating giant salvinia throughout Louisiana
Date:11/19/2009

RUSTON, La. A team of researchers at Louisiana Tech University has found that a naturally occurring microorganism acts as a natural herbicide against giant salvinia.

Giant salvinia is a noxious and invasive aquatic weed that can block all sunlight penetration into bodies of water, altering entire ecosystems. Under ideal conditions, it's been reported that giant salvinia can double in size every three days.

Dr. H. Lynn Walker, professor of biological sciences at Louisiana Tech, says studies are underway to evaluate the potential for using the microbe as a bioherbicide for control of giant salvinia.

"In view of the preliminary results, we remain optimistic that this research will lead to the development of an additional management tool that can be used to help manage giant salvinia."

Even though the research at Louisiana Tech could have applications for controlling other problematic types of salvinia, Walker says the primary objective is to evaluate the naturally occurring microbe as a potential bioherbicide for control of giant salvinia.

Research results indicate that the microbe can be grown under laboratory conditions and then sprayed onto the foliage of giant salvinia.

"Dr. Walker and his students in the School of Biological Sciences have been very successful in isolating naturally occurring organisms that can be used to control the growth of plant species, including giant salvinia," said Dr. James Liberatos, dean of Louisiana Tech's College of Applied and Natural Sciences.

"As his research progresses, we hope the microorganism can be used successfully to control giant salvinia in places like Lake Bistineau. We have witnessed the devastating environmental effects a rapid growing, invasive plant like giant salvinia can cause. The ability to control its growth with a natural agent is very much needed."

The impact of giant salvinia has not been limited to the waters of north Louisiana.
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Contact: Dave Guerin
dguerin@latech.edu
318-257-4854
Louisiana Tech University
Source:Eurekalert  

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