According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist Walker Jones, the perennial weed, Solanum elaeagnifolium, is being targeted for its ability to outcompete native plants, reduce crop yields and diminish pasture productivity. Its orange, toxin-producing berries can also poison livestock.
Severe infestations of silverleaf nightshade can render chemical or mechanical controls, like mowing, too costly, impractical or environmentally harmful to use, added Jones. He initiated the search for the weed's natural enemies as director of the European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL), operated in Montpellier, France, by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
Before returning to the United States this past April to lead the ARS Biological Control of Pests Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss., Jones, together with ARS National Program Leader Daniel Strickman, established a cooperative project with the Benaki Phytopathological Institute in Athens, Greece, to explore starting continental Europe's first-ever classical weed-biocontrol program. Candidate biocontrol agents are typically insects that severely damage or kill targeted weeds, sparing useful plants and striking a balance between the weed and its environment, explained Jones.
Normally, the EBCL serves as a "way station" where promising biocontrol agents collected from Europe, Asia or Africa are screened for potential release into the United States to manage invasive species there. But in this instance, the lab will serve as a receiving point for candidate organisms from North America that could open the door to biologically controlling infestations of the weed in Greece.
The project's early stages include genetically analyzing silverleaf nightshade populations collected from around the world and physically mapping Greece's infestations of the weed and densities using satellite photographs.
Read more about the research in the November-December 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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