ch to the use of chemicals and has great potential as a biological control alternative. This type of approach, using native pathogens to control noxious and invasive plants, is gaining more much deserved recognition."
Kasson, whose research is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, believes it would be relatively simple to develop a soil granular to spread on top of poison ivy-infested areas in yards and recreational areas such as campgrounds to naturally infect the plants and kill them.
After Kasson successfully isolated the fungus in pure culture from infected plants, a DNA analysis revealed that the fungus Colletotrichum fioriniae is also widely known as an insect pathogen that kills an invasive bug that infests and kills hemlock trees.
In all of the natural world, only humans are allergic to poison ivy and its itch-inducing oil, urushiol.
"Humans appear to be uniquely allergic to urushiol," said Jelesko. "Goats eat it, deer eat it, and birds eat the seeds, all to no ill effects."
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