Australia Now Has Smut Fungus

Image: A Wandering Trad infestation that's gonna be treated with some smut.

The CSIRO has just announced the development of a new biochemical control agent to help save Australian rainforests.

Oh it's called 'Leaf Smut' because 'Straya.

Scientists Discover That Hip Hop Produces The Most Delicious Cheese

Scientists in Switzerland spent the last six months playing music at maturing cheese to see whether certain genres would change enhance the flavour. If this sounds insane, we're with you, but apparently it actually worked. Not only that, the Hip Hop enhanced cheese apparently reigns supreme.

Read more

The brilliantly named fungus is being used to combat a South American weed named 'Wandering Trad' (Tradescantia fluminensis) which forms dense carpets across rainforest floors.

This has resulted in smothered vegetation and clogged waterways in eastern parts of the country.

"Weeds are one of the biggest threats to Australia's unique environment – in many areas across Australia they are damaging native vegetation, which threatens whole ecosystems including native wildlife," aid Dr Louise Morin, senior research scientist for the CSIRO.

Dr Morin went on to say that weeds cost the Australian agriculture sector more than $4.8 billion a year. Almost $30 million per year is spent in protecting our environment from weeds.

Research has shown that a Brazilian fungus called Kordyana brasiliensis can be used to combat Wandering Trad. Here in Australia, it's known as Leaf Smut.

Spores from the Leaf Smut fungus are used to infect and kill the weed without hurting other plants or wildlife.

Image: The Leaf Smut working its smutty magic. The white indicate infection of the weed, which will eventually kill it dead.

"We know from decades of research in this field, that specialised fungi, like the leaf smut, have specific genes that enable them to successfully infect and cause disease only on single or a narrow range of plant species, Said Dr Morin.

"So we look at plants that are related to wandering trad including native plants to make sure the fungus will only infect the weed," she added.

Until now, only short term solutions have been used to treat the Wandering Trad that has infected forests across parts of NSW, QLD and down through the Dandenong ranges in Victoria.

This has mostly involved hand pulling the weed or utilising chemical herbicides, which can result in environmental harm.

Leaf Smut is considered to be a more sustainable long-term solution that has been approved by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

In smut we trust.

Trending Stories Right Now