CAMDENTON, Mo. (Edited News Release) -- A national group honored a Camdenton High School senior earned a national scholarship for her research on a Missouri plant.
Grace Hall is one of the first in the state of Missouri to receive the Environmental Science research honor.
Hall conducted a study on an invasive plant (serecia lespedeza) affecting both agriculture and nature reserves including state parks in Missouri. This plant is known as one of the most damaging plants in the state.
Hall concluded that this plant gets help from soil bacteria to give it an advantage over other plants. These soil microbes produce an enzyme that suppress other plants including crop species and native plants. Hall developed a chemical inhibitor of this enzyme and found it specifically targets these 'bully' enzymes (while not effecting native plants and crops) and prevents this noxious weed from taking over. This finding could potentially reduce the need to use harmful herbicides when controlling weeds by creating a whole new class of environmentally benign herbicides.
For her efforts, Hall received a $12,000 scholarship.
Hall will attend Missouri State University in the fall. Discussions are already underway to develop this research further while attending MSU.