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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 17, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta -Tuesday, October 17, 1972 THE LETHBRIDGE HERAID Snow mould attacks lawns, kills large patches There's something discourag- ing about surveying a lawn or forage crop after a seige of snow mould, a fungus which can lie damaging. In either case, large brown patches of kill slick oul like a sore thumb against the back- ground of new growth. To the city dweller, it's annoying; to the farmer, it's a llu-cat to liis livelihood. 'Snow mould is really a group of fungi which live and grow under snow in the win- said Dr. Ward, a plant pathologist at the Canada de- partment of agriculture re- search institute in London, Ont. plants are damaged before the snow is pone. When 'the snow melts, the fungi cease to be active. 'In the case of the fungi wa are studying, no one knows how they survive the he said. These are a few of the puz- zles in the life and activity of snow mould. No one even knew how the snow mould killed its hosts un- til about 1952 when Dr. Jack Lebcau, head of the Plant Path- ology Section of Uie Lethb ridge Research Station discovered that the most destructive mould in the prairie region pro- duces hydrogen cyanide. Lfindrace hogs available soon Limb-ace breeding slock will be available to breeders oulshie Denmark for the'first time if that country joins the European Economic Community Jan. 1. There are approximately purebred Landrace producers in Denmark, and head of breeding stock ware subjected to progeny testing analysis in 1971-72. These tests indicated an average daily gain on 45 to 200-pound animals of l.G pounds. The average back fat meas- urement was .08 inches and the side fat measurement was .06 inches with an average of 62.5 per cent lean on the sides and a lean area of 5.2 square inches In the long back muscle. The highest scoring animals record- ed 67.5 per cent lean meat. A sales organization for the export of Landrace b r e e ding slock and semen (Salgs-og Ek- sportorganizatton for Avlssvtn- S.E.A.) Iins been set up in Cop- enhagen in conjunction with Bacon Factories Export Associ- ation. Both Dr. Lebeau and Dr. Ward agree thai if scientists knew exactly how the mould produces cyanide or how it works with its host to form the gas, there would be a better chance of solving the problem, 'We've divided the fungi in- volved In our experiments into three said Dr. Ward, who has worked with col- leagues in London to study how the fungi produce hydrogen cyanide. "One group of fungi do not grow on plants, so we've elim- inated them from this particu- lar study. "Of the other two groups, both grow on alfalfa, but one produces hydrogen cyanide when grown alone in cultures while the other will produce cyanide only when the fungi grow on plants." Dr. Ward, Dr. G. D. Thorn and Dr. A. N. Starratt of the London Research Institute set out fo learn how a fungus in the group produces cyanide in cul- tures actually manufacturers the deadly gas. They had a few leads, since fungi are not the only organ- isms which produce hydrogen cyanide. Certain plants such as bitter almond, cherry laurel and flax make compounds called cyano- genic glycosides which release hydrogen cyanide by enzymo activity when the plants are in- jured. So the London scieniists started biosynthelic studies to sec if the fungus pieces to- gether various compounds to come up with ils release of hydrogen cyanide in a manner similar to that in plants. Their method is to feed the fungus labelled compounds, us- ually radioactive, which are the possible building blocks. The ef- fect is something like supping a red fender Into the assembly line of a blue car. At the end of the line, the fender not only shows up as being built into the car, but one can also spot exact- ly where it fits into the final product. 'Based on our results so far, it doesn't look as if the fungus builds cyanogenic glycosides the way plants said Dr. Ward. "The fungus does seem to use an ammo acid called glycine in the pathway, but exactly how it converts this lo hydrogen cy- anide is not clear." The problem is an example ol a complicated interaction in na- ture that's being tackled from several approaches. Scientists are trying to find out what the fungi do on their own, what hap- pens between fungi and host plants, and what treatments might prevent release of hydro- gen cyanide. People of the south HAICO Presents Fifth Dimension in Traiiering Hlfch weight 1500 !bs. sleeps up to eight, tub, twin beds, and loaded with many other features. See it on display now! Another People Pleaser From COUTTS HIGHWAY LETHBRIDGE Phone 327-3165 JOHN town secretary Cofciuan ;