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Phragmites Partners With Microbes to Plot Native Plants' Demise

University of Delaware researchers have uncovered a novel means of conquest employed by the common reed, Phragmites australis, which ranks as one of the world's most invasive plants.

The invasive strain, which hails from Eurasia, overtakes its "native" cousin, which has lived in North America for the past 10,000 years, ironically by provoking the native plant to "take itself out," through a combination of microbial and enzymatic activity in the soil.

The research by an interdisciplinary UD team led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, is reported in the December issue of the scientific journal Plant Physiology and also is highlighted in one of the journal's editorials.

Bais's co-authors include postdoctoral researchers Gurdeep Bains and Amutha Sampath Kumar in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Thimmaraju Rudrappa, a former UD postdoctoral researcher who is now a research scientist at DuPont; Emily Alff, an undergraduate who became involved in the study through a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship; and Thomas Hanson, associate professor of marine biosciences in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.
 
 

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