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Quackgrass extract slugs it out.

Anyone who gardens in moist soil risks losing prized (and pricey) plants as ravenous slugs feast away. Lately, farmers attempting to eschew chemical herbicides with no-till techniques have also found fields of alfalfa and corn plagued by the slimy nocturnal creatures.

The one federally approved chemical for slug control "is relatively expensive" and poses a toxic threat to pets and livestock, note Roger D. Hagin and Suzanne J. Bobnick of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. In the January Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they describe a promising alternative extracted from quackgrass.

Field trials with the natural chemical, known as 6-HT[beta]C-3-COOH, show that it's "highly toxic" to slugs, including Arion subfuscus - a species that "has the potential to become the most serious slug pest in North America," the researchers say. But the slug-slaying compound spares earthworms and snails, and shows "little mammalian toxicity," they report.
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Title Annotation:chemical for controlling slugs
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 16, 1991
Words:148
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