Holidaymakers bring back seeds, fungi

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Dutch people returning from exotic vacations often unwittingly bring home with them exotic plant seeds and fungi.

Some of these fungi cause rust, a plant disease which can seriously harm native Dutch species. An Australian variant of rust has already affected 150 plant species since it was first detected in the Netherlands in 1972. Some of these species are important food crops.

Plant seeds often get caught in socks and fungal spores attach themselves to clothing. The Netherlands Mycological Society advises people to wash their clothes before packing their suitcases for the trip home, or at least shake them out and put them in the washing machine immediately when they get home.

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