Narrator: This is Science Today. Scientists may have a promising new option to manage Sudden Oak Syndrome, a fungus-like tree disease that's rampaging though California's coastal mountains and forestland. Plant pathologist David Rizzo of the University of California, Davis, says non-toxic chemicals known as phosphates have shown promise.
Rizzo: These chemicals are not registered as pesticides as of yet - they're experimental, but the work is proceeding and we're somewhat optimistic.
Narrator: Rizzo says when these compounds were injected directly into the trunks of diseased trees, they traveled to the leaves and seemed to stimulate the host's defense mechanism - but they're not sure how and there are some limitations to the process.
Rizzo: Number one, they seemed to have to be injected directly into the bark. The other thing is it does seem to be more of a protectant. If the tree is already infected, it potential could slow down the spread, but it is not going to cure the tree. So this is not a cure for already infected trees.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.