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Brazilian researchers study fungal toxins for herbicide use

Brazilian researchers are investigating fungi-produced toxins for their herbicidal activity, national media report. Scientists from the federal Roraima University (UFRR) and Sao Paulo state have identified fungal extracts they say specifically control weeds. The UFRR’s Dr Rosianne Barbosa explains the research. “The method used is to collect weeds with leaf spots caused by fungi in crops, such as rice, palm oil, cowpeas, maize and soybeans in Roraima and sugar cane in Sao Paulo,” she says. The fungi are grown in insulated containers, covered with aluminum foil and kept static, in order to stimulate the production of toxins, Dr Barbosa adds. The extract undergoes a process of “lyophilisation” (dehydration and freezing under vacuum). The researchers aim to develop a bioherbicide from the study.

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