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Old June 13, 2013   #46
greentiger87
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Hi Ray,

The yeast in this case are dead. They're meant to be a source of nutrients and growth factors. Any that are alive in the brewer's yeast powder will quickly be killed by the boiling or pressure cooking.

Common brewers yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has only very small amounts of chitin in their cell walls.

The active organism here is whatever you inoculate with right before you turn on the air pump and let it sit. In my case, it's Streptomyces lydicus. I have access to useful Streptomyces griseus and Streptomyces violaceousniger strains, so I will try them as well.

And yes, I did try them on my roses, for active blackspot. Because I didn't have a control, it's hard to draw useful conclusions. But the blackspot did not spread after spraying with it. I had too many roses to really keep it up though.

Last edited by greentiger87; June 13, 2013 at 04:51 PM.
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Old June 13, 2013   #47
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Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
Hi Ray,

The yeast in this case are dead. They're meant to be a source of nutrients and growth factors. Any that are alive in the brewer's yeast powder will quickly be killed by the boiling or pressure cooking.

Common brewers yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has only very small amounts of chitin in their cell walls.

The active organism here is whatever you inoculate with right before you turn on the air pump and let it sit. In my case, it's Streptomyces lydicus. I have access to useful Streptomyces griseus and Streptomyces violaceousniger strains, so I will try them as well.

And yes, I did try them on my roses, for active blackspot. Because I didn't have a control, it's hard to draw useful conclusions. But the blackspot did not spread after spraying with it. I had too many roses to really keep it up though.
OK, I wasn't sure if you were using a culture that could be activated or a spent one. Regardless my mistake, you were sterilizing the mixture beforehand. so it wouldn't matter anyway.
The yeast has a lot of vitamins, amino's and minerals in it from the dead organisms and the food sources they were grown in. I guess that's why it's used in other culture mediums. Good food supplement for people and animals too.
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Old June 14, 2013   #48
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Originally Posted by eltex View Post
Like Ami said, the idea is that once a plant is given that bath of Myco at transplant time, they will never need it again, as it should live and grow as long as your plant does. While it is easy to say that, it is impossible to say if you soil might already have them, as many native soils already do. I know that I am currently running a trial of 16 bush bean plants, 8 with and 8 without Myco, though the brand I am using is Garden-ville. We made our first harvest today, and there is NO difference between them. Maybe my soil already had some that were dormant, maybe the Garden-ville brand is junk, or maybe they don't make a big difference for bush beans grown in healthy soil. There are a lot of questions there and it could take a few years to figure it all out.
There are other factors to consider. How long have you been using organic fertilizers? Strong chemical fertilizers and some soil amendments can kill fungi. Also, since the purpose of using Myco is to effectively extend the root system, by up to a factor of 20, if you are growing in containers it may not make any difference at all.
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Old June 15, 2013   #49
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It does. The research shows that in containers, the combination of slow release inorganic fertilizers, or weak water soluble "fertigation" with mycorrhizal fungi leads to increased size and yield. In particular it helps deal with high soil temps so common to container gardening, presumably by increasing the ability of the plant to take up water for evaporative cooling. But it also helps deal with the other various stresses we place on our plants (like transplanting, disease, insects.. etc.)

I can link some of the papers if you like, just have to search a little.

Most of this research was done in the context of nursery growers, and was particularly concerned with economic efficiency.
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Old June 15, 2013   #50
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Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
It does. The research shows that in containers, the combination of slow release inorganic fertilizers, or weak water soluble "fertigation" with mycorrhizal fungi leads to increased size and yield. In particular it helps deal with high soil temps so common to container gardening, presumably by increasing the ability of the plant to take up water for evaporative cooling. But it also helps deal with the other various stresses we place on our plants (like transplanting, disease, insects.. etc.)

I can link some of the papers if you like, just have to search a little.

Most of this research was done in the context of nursery growers, and was particularly concerned with economic efficiency.
If you wouldn't mind linking the papers, I would appreciate it. I'm thinking of adding some containers next year and how I implement them may be determined by what I can learn.

The original post said that Mycorrhizae made no difference and I was looking for reasons why this might have been so.

Thanks,

Russel
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Old June 15, 2013   #51
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Originally Posted by Master_Gardener View Post
If you wouldn't mind linking the papers, I would appreciate it. I'm thinking of adding some containers next year and how I implement them may be determined by what I can learn.

The original post said that Mycorrhizae made no difference and I was looking for reasons why this might have been so.

Thanks,

Russel
One possible reason is most Arbuscular Mycorrhizae are host plant family specific. A good product will have a few strains so that the best symbiotic relationship pair can work for most crop species OR will say it is specifically for tomatoes or whatever.

Of course I also agree with the other posters here on the other possible reasons.
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Old June 15, 2013   #52
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Originally Posted by Atomic Garden View Post
... this stuff is pretty expensive for the amount you get. My question is can you increase the amount you get? I have been using compost or worm tea and I know the reason you let it bubble for hours on end is to let the bacteria and fungi grow. If I add mycorrhizae to a bucket with molasses or some other food source can I turn a few cc's into a few gallons?
The process for growing Mycorrhizae might vary a bit depending on your location and climate. The process would look something like this; take several grow bags full of medium, add a layer of (two or more sources Endo + Ecto to be sure) of Mycorrhizae, then plant something with crazy roots like Bahia grass. The basic idea is that the roots grow down through the Myco layer and get inoculated. Ideally, cold weather will eventually kill the Bahia grass. Cut the grass, remove the bag and shred the roots with the growing medium. You now have a much larger amount of Myco than you started with. I think there are even some videos showing this process.

My understanding is that Myco will keep for about 2 years under favorable conditions, but if you use a lot of it, you could just make it every year for the following growing season. Once activated in the soil, it can live only about 48 hours without a host.

I had planned on doing exactly this but could not find a small quantity, say 5 pounds, of Bahia grass. The project eventually got pushed to the back of the bus but I would still like to try it.

Hope this helps.

Russel
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Old June 26, 2013   #53
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Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
So.. I've been culturing a certain biological antifungal product that many of us have found extremely useful. And it's been really successful! It's a streptomycete. I'm using a submerged culture technique, inoculating directly from the product with each batch, and using the product immediately. So basically, this allows the product to go a lot further - but you still need to buy it.

I've cultured 5 times now successfully, with a few failures. I'm using a 5 gallon bucket filled to about 3.5 gallons and an aquarium air pump with two airstones (each a cube of 1 inch).

Success is incredibly obvious because of the sweet smell streptomycetes produce. The effects on plants are pretty unmistakable as well.

I've tried a few different "recipes". The important thing is to keep nitrogen relatively low, use no simple sugars, and as few simple carbohydrates as possible. This favors actinobacteria over other bacteria. The most successful recipe is below.

1/4 cup crab or shrimp shell (provides chitin along with other macro and micro nutrients)
1 tbsp vinegar (this brings my tap water to slightly below neutral pH)
2 quarts of tapwater (my tapwater is hard, high in sodium, and alkaline)
1/4 cup cornmeal (carbohydrate and other nutrients)
1 tsp brewers yeast powder (provides full spectrum of nutrients and possible minor growth factors)

Chitin as the primary nitrogen source promotes the production of antifungal enzymes/metabolites and favors actinobacteria. For actinobacteria, the brewers yeast powder may actually be counterproductive. Actinobacteria are well adapted to situations with very little nutrition, and perhaps no exogenous growth factors, unlike many bacteria. However, it is a standard component of many culture mediums. I haven't yet experimented with leaving it out, but I will.

Do not add molasses, honey, sugar, or anything remotely sweet. It's just not necessary for actinobacteria, and will likely result in other bacteria taking over the culture. I've tried. The smell was horrible.

Cornmeal is very, very cheap at feed stores.

I powder the ingredients in a spice grinder if necessary.

Option 1) Tyndallization - Mix the solids and liquids in a stockpot. Bring to a low boil for thirty minutes, replacing water as needed. Let it sit overnight, covered. Boil again for thirty minutes and it's ready to use.

Pressure cookers used to scare me, so this is what I would have done in the past and have tried twice with success on this organism. Allowing the liquid to sit overnight promotes the germination of dormant spores that weren't killed by the first boiling. The second boiling kills most organisms before they have a chance to sporulate again.

Option 2) Ghetto Autoclave - Stick everything in a pressure cooker and let it go to three whistles or whatever makes you happy. Add extra water to account for the lost steam. Can be ready to use within 30 minutes of mixing.

Now you just dump everything in a well cleaned 5 gallon bucket and dilute to about 3.5 gallons. Turn on the pump, and add a tsp of the product. Wait three days or so. Smell it when you get impatient to reassure yourself.

Airline tubing, bubble stones, and the 5 gallon bucket should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after every use. Note that the air you're blowing into the culture is obviously not disinfected or sterilized. Apparently the streptomycete has enough of a headstart that this is not a problem.

I haven't had to use any chemical fungicides so far this season!
greentiger- I'm very intrigued by your post here. I am just finishing up a build for a 50-gal brewing container with air stones, tea-bag, air-pump, etc. I don't expect to brew 50-gal batches, more on the order of 15-20-gal. I intend to use the output when I water the plants with an injector (about 45-min of spray time will pull 5-gal through the injector, and I want that 5-gal to be the tea inoculation. Since I have 3 spray zones, I will need 15-gal for the water, which would leave another 5-gal for foliar spray.

Based on what I'd read of AACT, I was planning on brewing a 24-48 hour batch that might look like this:
- .5-1-cup sulfur-less Molasses
- 2-4 cup worm castings
- .5 cup Neptune's Harvest Seaweed solution (or the fish/seaweed)
- Some Humic and/or Fulvic acids
- Frass? (Would that be a good substitute for your
- Some kind of inoculant; options included:
+ Acinovate (Streptomyces lydicus WYEC 108*)
+ Great White (http://www.plant-success.com/index.p...corrhizae.html)
+ Biotamax (Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma viride, Trichoderma koningii, Trichoderma polysporum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus laterosporus, Bacillus licheniformus, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus pumilus, Paenibacillus polymyxa)
+ Something else?

As you can see, I'm new to this, and my personality tends towards overdoing it. Since I don't know which of the above ingredients to use to effect an outcome, I'm throwing everything into the brew. Well, then I came across your post around trying to promote Actinobacteria, and I have to question if I'm on course. I'd appreciate your thoughts on the ingredents I have listed above, which make sense, which do not. How much. Etc. Also, can you give online sources for the ingredients you used? I want to make sure I'm using the same type of "stuff" if I give your brew a try this weekend.

BTW, when you write, "Turn on the pump, and add a tsp of the product...." to what "product" are you referring? Is it the inoculant?

Thanks!
Naysen
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Old June 27, 2013   #54
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Naysen -

The product I was referring to was Actinovate.

No worries, I have a similar personality. I know it's hard to do, but one of the most important things as far as success with culturing organisms like these is to *not* overdo the recipe. Each set of bacteria will have conditions in which they thrive. It is very easy for the hobbyist to create a growth medium that is far too rich for their purposes. Too rich media can backfire in multiple ways (I can elaborate if you want), and often promotes the dominance of contaminants. When in doubt, dilute. Do research on the specific microorganism you want to grow on Google scholar before you start experimenting. Since there's no way for you to directly test your final product, optimizing your growth media to select for what you want becomes very important.

Throwing everything but the kitchen sink in at once is *not* a good idea. Resist the urge. Trust me, I can empathize.

Bacillus species are mostly non-fastidious, meaning they don't need any special growth factors to succeed. However, they do best in aerobic conditions. They can be reliably grown on something as simple as Potato Broth (the liquid left behind when you boil unpeeled potato slices in water for a while).

Trichoderma can be grown in liquid broth, but it will struggle to compete against contaminants. Without adding antibiotics and other selection factors, you'll probably be wasting inoculant. However, Trichoderma species will grow vigorously on moist, but solid media. The growth is clearly visible as well, which is reassuring.

From what I've read, Bacillus subtilis and Trichoderma don't antagonize each other in controlled studies on agar. Combinations of Bacillus subtilis and Trichoderma complement each other when applied to the plant root syste. However, these studies were on specific strains of the subtilis species only. Since Bacillus species are used as antagonists for fungal pathogens, it's not unreasonable to think that they could outcompete Trichoderma if they were vying for the same resources.

Actinomycetes are very non-fastidious. They can thrive in very low-nutrient situations where other organisms struggle. The Actinovate strain is extremely vigorous, which is likely making up for the fact that my approach is non-ideal and non-sterile.

Adding simple carbohydrates like molasses, in non-sterile conditions, will promote the growth of undesired and potentially pathogenic bacteria in a liquid broth situation. This is a overall opinion from the my reading of the research. A very small amount of molasses might be helpful for Bacillus, but not for Trichoderma or any Actinomycete.

The majority of mycorrhizal species cannot be cultured in vitro. They need living plants to multiply. See posts above for details. Adding Great White to your tea, as expensive as it is, is a huge waste.

Frass is best thought of as an inoculant, rather than a nutrient source. Adding it along with another inoculant is overkill. Worm castings also serve as an inoculant, along with providing nutrients.

For the purpose of growing specific microorganisms, adding seaweed, humic/fulvic acids, worm castings, or frass all introduce unknown variables that are unecessary. They might still be good for plants, but not for the purpose we're talking about. Add them later.

I know this is contrary to much of the information on the web, but the research shows that Aerated Compost Tea is *not* effective as a foliar spray. The unknown composition is the main issue. Anaerobic teas of manure products and chicken litter have shown some consistent effectiveness in field trials, though there are still pathogen issues.

Aerobic teas are attractive because the smell nicer, and *feel* like you're really doing something. And of course, people can make money selling you equipment.

This is why I prefer attempting to culture single organisms if I'm going to go to the trouble of aerating my tea.
The next best thing to is to use an inoculant that you know is rich in a specific kind of organism, and then compose your media to select for them as well. For example, insect frass is known to be rich in chitin-degrading organisms as well as entomopathogenic organisms.

Last edited by greentiger87; June 27, 2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Old June 28, 2013   #55
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GreenTiger, great reply! For some reason, this thread was not added to my watch list on my posting, so I almost lost it. I guess it was too easy to assume we could just bubble some water with any number of innoculants floating in it to end up with liquid gold for the garden.

I was actually researching AACT myself this morning, unrelated to this thread response, and I came across several WSU study aggregates purporting AACT advocates are propagating a myth, particularly so far as its uses for repressing disease. Here are some of the links:
http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20cha...3rd%20time.pdf

http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20cha...ea%20again.pdf

http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20cha...post%20tea.pdf

http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20cha...CompostTea.pdf

Can you provide a link or finer description of the Brewers yeast that you used as well as corn meal type? Any update on the results?

I think you should start a separate post dedicated to your recipes and the reasoning behind your TAACT (targeted AACT) experiments? I think it would be good to have more of the community test out specific recipes and perform experiments with foliar-spraying/soil-drench to see if there are any apparent benefits against xyz (w/ control).

I look forward to hearing more from you.
Thanks!
-naysen
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Old June 28, 2013   #56
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Granted, compost tea as a foliar disease control is a crap shoot. There is no way of knowing if a particular tea brew has the right species of microbes in sufficient numbers to be effective against certain leaf, stem or fruit pathogens. Of course targeting applications with specific microbes with known pathogen fighting abilities that can live above ground on plant surfaces makes more sense.
Compost and other types of teas are more valuable as a ground application where they can greatly help restore balanced biology to depleted and abused soils or soil-less container mixes. I think it's important to grasp that teas are not just about bacteria and fungi, but it's also about protozoa and bacteria and fungi feeding nematodes which are critical to nutrient cycling. Without them and larger critters like earthworms and arthropods plants grown under organic conditions would never get the all the nutrients they need.

Compost teas are a pretty complicated subject that has nothing to do with haphazardly throwing everything but the kitchen sink into a brew.
Dr. Elaine Ingham's "The Compost Tea Brewing Manual" is required reading for anyone wanting to understand the biology and experiment with compost teas.
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Old June 28, 2013   #57
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Ray, thanks for the comments and link. I'm into reading it now.
Much appreciated.
-naysen
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Old June 30, 2013   #58
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I've had my reservations about Elaine Ingham in the past. After reading more of her work though, I've come to respect her perspective.

But as she strongly implies in manual above, the AACT she's teaching how to make is really meant for commercial and market growers and farmers. It's not always practical for even a small grower with just several acres of plants to incorporate compost into their soil, or mulch heavily with organic matter. So good compost tea, applied to the soil, is highly beneficial.

But for the average suburban/backyard gardener, the much better option is to aggressively amend with organic material. Adding compost tea on top of that (into the ground) doesn't make much sense to me. My raised beds, for example, contain no purposely added inorganic "soil". It's all compost and mulch. There's hundreds of feet of clay below that for plants to sink their roots into, so there's no reason for me to add more. To say that the "soil" of my raised beds is teeming with life is a understatement. I suspect the same can be said of most backyard gardeners that are trying to implement organic practices.
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Old July 3, 2013   #59
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Well maybe off-topic, but I figured I post some pics of my tea brewer in action. A buddy of mine ordered the bulkhead, and I had the food grade barrel ready for use. It went together pretty easy with the two of us working on it. The tea prep time was a bit high. I didn't have all the products that GT88 used to try out his recipe (nor has he reported back on the efficacy of the trial), so after reading through the entire Ingham manual, I tried to match one of her bacteria/fungal 50/50 recipes. In the end, it kind of did feel like I threw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. I hope this isn't a disaster. I did go very light on the food (1/20th what the Brix package recommended).

My recipe is documented here:
http://s1360.photobucket.com/user/z_...acb1b.jpg.html

I'm probably fighting a Verticillium or Fusarium issue in my beds, so I'm hoping the bacteria might help push out the bad guys.
-naysen
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Old July 5, 2013   #60
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Practically everything but the kitchen sink I'd say.
Naysen, why all the Mycogrow and Great White in the mix. Seems redundant and unnecessary and better to apply those inoculants directly to the soil and roots.
What exactly is the Brix product? Is that a brand of molasses?
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