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Researchers report breakthrough in fight against “Rock Snot”

AF Newswire - Pigeon Bluff, TN - 8:09am, April 1, 2009, Reported by Sally Pettitebouche

Reporting on preliminary results of clinical trials conducted on the Little Piney River in eastern Tennessee, researchers say that results look promising in the war against the invasive alga, didymosphenia geminata, commonly known as “Rock Snot.” Rock snot is a single cell diatom common throughout the northern hemisphere in temperate climates. The first observed occurrence of rock snot east of the Mississippi River was in 2005 in the tailwater rivers of eastern Tennessee. The Little Piney River was selected because of the fertile insect life and large trout found in the river, both of which are potentially threatened by the proliferation of alga blooms producing mats of rock snot that can choke insect life in a river system. The trial application of the chemical compounds supplied by Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (RBI) was co-sponsored by RBI and Trout Unlimited (TU) and conducted by Eastern Tennessee University. Elmo Haskins Vice President and COO of RBI, producer of the off-the-counter medication Mucinex, says the partnership with TU was a natural, since TU was committed to preserving and restoring coldwater fishery habitat. TU President Charles Gauvin expressed his confidence in RBI’s ability to put a stop to rock snot as effectively as they do other forms of mucus congestion. Tests in the Little Piney River show that an application of the active ingredients of Mucinex shows almost instant relief from the most persistent infestation of rock snot. Researchers have delayed widespread application of this potentially powerful remedy until studying all the potential side effects. There is particular concern that the industrial-grade Mucinex compounds will cause excess expulsion of mucus from streamside fauna, as well as harm the protective mucus membrane on fish. Researchers say that exchanging deer, raccoon and bear snot for rock snot is not an acceptable outcome to support widespread application. <Rock snot photo>

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