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Prairie grass cleanses soil in ISU study

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    from Jess Hansen via ndn-aim list Prairie grass cleanses soil in ISU study By LIZ ALLEN KOEP The Ames Tribune http://www.omaha.com Thursday, August 1, 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2002
      from Jess Hansen via ndn-aim list

      Prairie grass cleanses soil in ISU study

      By LIZ ALLEN KOEP
      The Ames Tribune
      http://www.omaha.com
      Thursday, August 1, 2002

      AMES, Iowa - Native big blue stem and yellow Indian grass could be a safer
      and cheaper way to clean up spills from agricultural chemicals.

      Iowa State University researchers have been experimenting with 12 species of
      native prairie grasses in hopes of finding ways to improve the state's soil
      and water.

      Joel Coats, an entomologist and leader of the three-year project, said the
      lab tests have been successful and he hopes eventually to try the project on
      a contaminated site in the state.

      The research is funded through a $20,000 grant from the University of Iowa.

      "They're the right plants to tolerate residues and enhance growth in the
      soil," Coats said.

      He said prairie grasses can take tough conditions, including drought, heat,
      cold and flooding, which make them the perfect plants for this work.

      The grasses' roots help tiny bacteria and fungus grow, which "frees up
      nutrients in the soil better than plants do by themselves," Coats said.

      In turn, the bacteria and fungus help detoxify the soil.

      In the lab experiments, Coats said a "substantial amount" of toxins were
      removed from the soil by using prairie grasses.


      ©2002 Omaha World-Herald.

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