Current Weather
The Spy FM

Orange Goo At Alaskan Village Found To Be Fungal Spores, Not Eggs

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
August 18, 2011

The orange goo that took over the shore of a remote Alaskan village is actually a mass of fungal spores — not microscopic eggs, as scientists at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration first believed.

But researchers are not yet sure whether this particular type of rust fungus is one of the 7,800 species of rust fungi that have already been identified. For one thing, its spores have unusual spines covering their surface.

“At this point, the best identification we can give to as the origin of these spores is a rust fungus,” says Steve Morton, Ph.D., who works in the NOAA lab in Charleston, S.C., that conducted the full analysis. “The spores are unlike others we and our network of specialists have examined; however, many rust fungi of the Arctic tundra have yet to be identified.”

Samples of the orange substance were sent to labs at NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries facility, which initially determined that the goo was actually a mass of microscopic eggs, and to NOAA’s National Ocean Service Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston.

Scientists at the South Carolina facility who analyzed the microbiological phenomena with electron scanning microscopes and other equipment “determined that the substance is consistent with spores from a fungi that cause rust,” according to a NOAA press release.

NOAA says that the disease “infects only plants, causing a rust-like appearance on leaves and stems. Rust fungi reproduce to infect other plants by releasing spores which disperse, often-times great distances, by wind and water.”

The agency says it will release more information about the fungal spores as its Analytical Response Team continues to examine the samples sent from Alaska. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 6AM Living On Earth

Living On Earth

Living on Earth with Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International.

Listen Live Now!

6AM to 7AM On Being

On Being

On Being engages listeners across the spectrum of belief and non-belief in conversation about life's deepest questions. From autism to the ethics of torture, Krista and her guests reach beyond the headlines to probe faith and meaning, ethics and new ways of being, amidst the political, ecological, economic, cultural and technological shifts that define 21st century life.

View the program guide!

8AM to 10AM Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition Sunday premiered on January 18, 1987, and was the last of NPR's major newsmagazines to hit air. Since then, Weekend Edition Sunday has covered newsmakers and artists, scientists and politicans, music makers of all kinds, writers, thinkers, theologians and all manner of news events.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center