The Drool-o-tron™ seems to be developing a personality. It signaled us with its blaring sirens and flashing lights. The blinking letters of the wall display said York University .
What? York University in Toronto, Canada’s third-largest university? So it seems. Our computer was locked onto this news release at the university’s website: Moose drool inhibits growth of toxic fungus: York U research. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Some sticky research out of York University shows a surprisingly effective way to fight against a certain species of toxic grass fungus: moose saliva (yes… moose saliva).
People have been battling toxic fungus for millennia, but until now, no one ever thought of using moose drool. Those Canadians are smart! We’re told:
Published in this month’s Biology Letters, “Ungulate saliva inhibits a grass–endophyte mutualism” shows that moose and reindeer saliva, when applied to red fescue grass (which hosts a fungus called epichloë festucae that produces the toxin ergovaline) results in slower fungus growth and less toxicity.
Here’s a link to the published paper: Ungulate saliva inhibits a grass–endophyte mutualism. You can read it online without a subscription. Let’s stay with the news release:
Inspired by an earlier study that showed that moose grazing and saliva distribution can have a positive effect on plant growth, the research team set out to test an interesting hypothesis – whether moose saliva may, in fact, “detoxify” the grass before it is eaten.
This ranks with the apple that fell on Isaac Newton’s head and inspired his theory of gravity. Get ready now, because here comes a description of scientists at work:
Working in partnership with the Toronto Zoo, the team collected saliva samples from moose and reindeer, which they then smeared onto clipped samples of red fescue grass carrying the toxic fungus, simulating the effect of grazing. They found that the application of saliva produced rapid results, inhibiting fungus growth within 12-36 hours.
We can see it now — a Canadian biologist comes home from a hard day’s work and his wife asks: “What did you do today, dear?”
Okay, that’s enough excerpts, and it’s also enough Curmudgeonly remarks. You’ve got some reading to do if you want to be up-to-date on this topic. But we can’t leave it there. This has inspired us to challenge you, dear reader.
Our challenge is this: What might be a beneficial use of creationists’ drool? There’s so much of the stuff, there must be a purpose for it. Surely you can think of something.
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