FIRE FIGHT­ERS

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

US sci­en­tists are us­ing bac­te­ria to pre­vent wild­fires in Idaho and Ore­gon. Re­cently, fires in this area have been ex­ac­er­bated by the spread of an in­va­sive plant known as cheat­grass, which forms dry and fine straw that catches fire eas­ily in arid con­di­tions. Re­searchers from the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey found that the bac­terium

Pseu­domonas flu­o­rescens

sup­presses the growth of cheat­grass’s roots, pre­vent­ing it from out­com­pet­ing na­tive grasses. The land could be cleared of cheat­grass after five years of treat­ment with the bac­te­ria, the re­searchers say.

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