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Laser Control of Aquatic Weeds by Irradiation at 10.6 Microns.

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Preliminary experiments have demonstrated in the laboratory the potential application of the N2-CO2-He laser system as a method of control for water hyacinth, Eichhornia Crassipes Mart. Solms. Two plant responses were noted first, an immediate plasmolysis and burning of the plant tissue in direct proportion to the amount of energy applied, and second, a delayed effect which occurred 6 to 8 weeks later and was not related to the amount of energy applied. Daughter plants which developed after treatment were limited in growth but were not killed by the exposure of the mother plant to laser energy, indicating that the latent effect is not translocated from plant to plant. Exposure of any plant part to the laser energy resulted in the death of the mother plant, indicating that the latent effect is translocated within a plant. The lethal effect of the laser energy on the plant was not found related to the total dose or the way in which it was applied. The pattern of behavior and histological observations indicate that irradiation interferes with the photosynthetic mechanism of the plant. Related to this effect, season of the year and physiological maturity of the plant appear to be important considerations in the development of a satisfactory system of control for the field. Author

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