Seaweed analysis

Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) reveals that a simple red seaweed uses 28 different chemical weapons to defend itself against a single fungal attack. The work, carried out by Julia Kubanek and colleagues at Georgia Tech, might one day be used to develop novel pesticides or offer pharmaceutical leads for a wide range of human conditions. "Plants and animals in the wild use chemistry as way to fight with one another," explains Kubanek, "Using this new [analytical] technology, we can listen in on this fight and perhaps learn from what's going on and steal some of the strategies for human applications."