The Dunbrody famine ship

A new study may be able to control the disease that was behind the potato famine that killed billions of crops causing nearly one million deaths from starvation throughout Ireland in the mid 1800's.

Scientists are now reporting important advancements in developing a method to prevent the disease from further infecting billions of crops each year throughout the world.

Researchers point out that the Phytophthora fungi causes detrimental damages to crops such as the potato and soybean.

However hope comes in the form of a single hormone called, alpha-1.

This hormone allows Phytophthora to reproduce.

The hormone exists in several different forms, and a synthetic version of the most biologically active form could provide the basis for developing a way to control the fungus and reduce its threat, the scientists suggest.

Still difficult to control despite the use of modern pesticides, the fungus continues to cause $6 billion in damage to global potato crops annually.

It is now believe that the scientists may be able to create a mating hormone potentially allowing a door to be hope to an effective method to fight the scourge.