The invasive knapweed is considered as one of the most-destructive noxious weeds in the West. It notoriously crowd-out nutritious forage for their livestock! To combat an invasive weed, a University of Idaho researcher is harnessing the power of tiny fungi!
The fungi endophytes living inside the spotted knapweed are believed to be capable of boosting the plant’s survival by exchanging the nutrients the weed provide then with. George Newcombe, on the school’s Moscow campus is said to have isolated an endophyte, which is capable of rendering a knapweed sterile!
Typically existing in low concentrations, the fungus –when cultured in a lab and sprayed in higher concentrations — has a deadly effect! And, according to Newcombe, ‘they may be the key!’ It then can release a toxin into the soil, capable of stunting cattle-feeding plants.
Thus, heavily infested areas often must be reseeded once the spotted knapweed has been eradicated.