What the Orange Goo Really Is

Scientists originally misidentified substance washed up in Alaska
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 19, 2011 11:40 AM CDT
This Aug. 6, 2011 photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a magnified close up of a sample of orange gunk tested by NOAA scientists in Juneau, Alaska.   (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Mandy Lindeberg)
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(Newser) – At first, scientists were baffled by the orange goo that washed ashore in Alaska. Then they announced it was tiny eggs. Now they’re saying that's wrong: It’s actually fungal spores, the Los Angeles Times reports. Microbiologists in South Carolina linked the material to the spores that turn plants orange with a disease known as “rust.” But the puzzle still isn’t completely solved. There are currently 7,800 known species of rust, and scientists aren’t sure if the goo is a member of any of these. (Read more Alaska stories.)

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