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Old July 5, 2013   #61
z_willus_d
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More than just the myco-fungi, Myco-grow and Great white listed a large number of "Beneficial" bacteria in their ranks. Since it's been several months since I used those products (and a few of my plantings were not inoculated at plant out), and I didn't know what the compost soil products included, I included the two myco-centric products. There is a bit of a contradiction between what I've read here in this thread on the ability of teas to reproduce fungal elements (not easy) vs. what I read in Dr. Ingham's paper, where she suggests it is a matter of having the right components in the mix and generally requires longer brew times. Here's one basic starting point recipe she gave for a 50/50 bacteria/fungi type tea:

Equal Ratio Fungi to Bacteria Tea (based on 50 gal tea)
- 15 pounds (7 kg) 1:1 fungal to bacterial biomass ratio compost
- 16 ounces (500 mL) humicacids
- 8 ounces (250 g) soluble kelp Fish hydrolysate, soybean meal, feathermeal, oatmeal, or other high complex protein materials (see labelon packages), fruit pulp, fish emulsion

Add nothing with a preservative or antibiotic in it! Humic acids select for beneficial fungi, but any fungal food could be substituted here. Make certain to obtain a mixture containing many humic acids, rather than a limited set (ie., 3 to5 humic acids). Rockdusts, rock powders, or rock flours can be beneficial as well,although these grainy materials can harm mechanical pumps. Fish hydrolysate should be tested for their ability to serve as fungal food resources
before using extensively.Fish emulsions do not have the oils that help fungi grow, so an emulsion is more beneficial as a bacterial food than a fungal food.

I didn't mention that it's been very hot in the garage where I've had the tea brewing. (100+ most of the time) The paper indicated there were two schools of thought on ideal temperatures: 1st) suggesting a specific range of temp as optimal for micro-organism growth (much lower than 100F); and the 2nd suggesting the brew should be made at the temperature in which the organisms will be administered. So, obviously, I'm banking on #2.

I had a foot of frothy foam at the top of my brew yesterday before I removed 10llb of 30lb for injection watering in the evening (48hr brew). The remaining 20lb are still bubbling in the garage, and I should use them as a foliar and soil drench later this evening. The tea has a mixture of a kind of sweet grass smoothy mixed with a kind of wet sock, gym in the rainy wintertime scent. I didn't find the wet sock pleasant, but I'm hoping it's just the Neptune's Harvest fish stuff that I added. It wasn't actually that terrible a smell and not too intense.
-naysen
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Old July 5, 2013   #62
greentiger87
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I don't understand why you'd still go with the kitchen sink method? Even if you get what you think are good results, having that many variables involved makes it unlikely you'll be able to reproduce your success.

The crab shell product I used is a local one, made by rabbit hill farm. The cornmeal was from a feed store, meant to be fed to livestock - don't have the bag anymore. The brewers yeast was Solgar brand, labeled as a nutritional supplement (for humans).

The 50/50 recipe Dr. Ingham gives does not mean that the tea will end up being half fungi and half bacterial. Even fungal dominant tea will end up having more bacterial biomass than fungal biomass.. usually by 5 or 10 times. Take a look at the numbers in the analysis of different brewing machines she provides. The name "fungal" is in context. If I'm mistaken on this, please let me know (it would change my strategies significantly).

When she talks about fungi, she is not talking about mycorrhizal fungi. That's why she talks about adding them to the tea just before applying it. You cannot grow most mycorrhizal fungi in compost tea. There are exceptions, but few and far between.

Dr. Ingham also implies that you can't make a disease suppressive tea using the "bubbler" method.. that you need a brewing machine. Her tests with a bubbler yielded no active bacteria or fungi at all.

Of the relevant peer reviewed research, only anaerobic manure tea has been shown to provide foliar disease suppression.

As for my results, I honestly can't say much. My plants have been doing really well, and all my applications have been to the soil. I'm not currently having any disease problems that I could test foliar spraying on. My applications have been to control nematodes, which appears to be working great - but I won't really know till the end of the season when I pull up the roots.

Last edited by greentiger87; July 5, 2013 at 01:24 PM.
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Old July 5, 2013   #63
z_willus_d
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GT87, I don't have any reason to "think" I have good results, not without a microscope and a minor in microbiology. I can't afford or justify one of the industrial machines that Dr. Ingham describes. I am open to the idea that the idea of a bucket-bubbler tea brewing machine is a complete hoax, and that I have fallen for it. The idea that I've not managed to maintain or produce a single active bacterium or fungus is a depressing notion.

My intent is to produce a tea that can be used as a soil drench mainly, in the hope that it will help "push-out" my potential Verticillium/Fusarium issues in the soil. Since I don't know precisely what bacteria are ideal for this purpose (though a subject expert from Montenegro recently told me those in Actinovate were exactly what I do not want to use), I'm at a loss as to what specifically I should try for.

Inham's paper seems to suggest that one should use a "good" compost along with those other ingredients, so that's what I've attempted. If the bucket bubbler method is pointless, and I can get some more corroboration around that assertion, I'll soon be done with this line of experimentation.

BTW, I was not asserting equal parts (50%/50%) exact bacteria to fungi in the recipe I posted. I realize that the concept is not about exact numbers of organisms but rather a focus on a blending of both. Yes, the Mycos will not reproduce, and perhaps I've killed off their spores in the brewing process.

--naysen
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Old July 5, 2013   #64
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The bucket bubbler method is not pointless, Dr. Ingham has written articles on how to do it in as little as a 5 gallon bucket, it just maybe not the ideal way to do a disease suppressive tea as GT87 pointed out. I think unless someone can prove otherwise, the kitchen sink method may just be a waste of money and time. I've seen many amateur tea brewers on the Net recommending insane amounts of molasses, humic acids and other food sources and amendments to teas, but if you look at the folks who have had many years of first hand experience studying compost teas, you never see that. If anything, additions to compost teas are added in very small amounts.

Naysen, I have no personal experience with Verticillium or Fusarium, but from what I've read, Trichoderma are the best biological control for those fungal pathogens. Trichoderma inoculants are not recommended as an a compost tea ingredient, but should be applied directly to the soil. There's an old thread on that I read on the Soil Food Web/Compost Tea Yahoo group.
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Old July 6, 2013   #65
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Hi Ray, thanks for the comments. I had also seen this thread from beeman on the subject of using Trichoderma as a F/V deterrent.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...ht=compost+tea

I'll try to find the Yahoo group thread you mentioned. From your readings on the subject, is it that the Trichoderma will simply not grow in tea, or that it can die in the process?

Naysen
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Old July 6, 2013   #66
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I don't think the bubbler method is pointless either. But it's nebulous. It's extremely confusing to me that Dr. Ingham would provide detailed instructions, in that booklet and elsewhere, on making tea in 5 gallon buckets for home gardeners - but then clearly suggest that such tea is not disease suppressive. I know how well respected she is, but I can't help but suspect a commercial motive with that kind of contradiction.

I also can't afford a home microscope. But my qualitative observations, reading, and general knowledge strongly suggest that I'm having success culturing specific organisms. That's the primar reason I do so, instead of using "good" compost. With specific organisms, I can read the literature to see if my observations line up - and get an assurance of success even without a microscope.

I apologize if any of my posts come across as adversarial. It's not my intention, it's just the way I talk when science is involved. There's no personal animosity here whatsoever. I applaud your willingness to experiment, I just don't want you to shoot yourself in the foot with the "kitchen sink" method.

Trichoderma struggles to compete in a liquid medium without lots of selection factors to prevent contamination from bacteria, yeasts, etc. In all the literature about production for use as an biological control, solid state fermentation has been the standard. Cornmeal, oat bran, waste mango pulp, waste oilcakes, are all examples of common media. The other minor possibility is production on the surface of a thick liquid, at the air-liquid interface. For example, at the surface of molasses or the surface of tomato sauce. The reason is intuitive - most filamentous fungi need a *lot* of oxygen, and providing that much oxygen in liquid medium is impossible without constantly destroying the mycelium. The added advantage for a home gardener is that Trichoderma (a mold) is really, really obvious when it's growing on a solid medium. You can quite literally mix spores with sterilized, slightly moist media in a plastic bag, stick it under your sink, and come back three days later to a bag of green Trichoderma spores.

Last edited by greentiger87; July 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old July 6, 2013   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z_willus_d View Post
I'll try to find the Yahoo group thread you mentioned. From your readings on the subject, is it that the Trichoderma will simply not grow in tea, or that it can die in the process?

Naysen
Actually, The concern is just the opposite.

Here's the link to the thread here.
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Old July 6, 2013   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
I don't think the bubbler method is pointless either. But it's nebulous. It's extremely confusing to me that Dr. Ingham would provide detailed instructions, in that booklet and elsewhere, on making tea in 5 gallon buckets for home gardeners - but then clearly suggest that such tea is not disease suppressive. I know how well respected she is, but I can't help but suspect a commercial motive with that kind of contradiction.
I don't see it as a contradiction, her focus with compost tea is restoring the Soil Food Web, nutrient cycling and all. Overall disease suppression is a result of restoring that healthy soil biology. A home brew compost tea itself may or may not suppress certain pathogens as a foiliar spray or a soil drench, there is no reliable way of knowing that beforehand as we all agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
I also can't afford a home microscope. But my qualitative observations, reading, and general knowledge strongly suggest that I'm having success culturing specific organisms. That's the primar reason I do so, instead of using "good" compost. With specific organisms, I can read the literature to see if my observations line up - and get an assurance of success even without a microscope.
Yep, targeting specific beneficial microbes that are known to be effective against specific pathogens is the smarter way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
I apologize if any of my posts come across as adversarial. It's not my intention, it's just the way I talk when science is involved. There's no personal animosity here whatsoever. I applaud your willingness to experiment, I just don't want you to shoot yourself in the foot with the "kitchen sink" method.
I like your healthy skepticism and research into the scientific literature.
I think too many people want a magic bullet in a bag or a bottle to fix every problem or think that if a little of something is good then a whole lot is better.
Experimenting is good as long as you expect failure along the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greentiger87 View Post
Trichoderma struggles to compete in a liquid medium without lots of selection factors to prevent contamination from bacteria, yeasts, etc. In all the literature about production for use as an biological control, solid state fermentation has been the standard. Cornmeal, oat bran, waste mango pulp, waste oilcakes, are all examples of common media. The other minor possibility is production on the surface of a thick liquid, at the air-liquid interface. For example, at the surface of molasses or the surface of tomato sauce. The reason is intuitive - most filamentous fungi need a *lot* of oxygen, and providing that much oxygen in liquid medium is impossible without constantly destroying the mycelium. The added advantage for a home gardener is that Trichoderma (a mold) is really, really obvious when it's growing on a solid medium. You can quite literally mix spores with sterilized, slightly moist media in a plastic bag, stick it under your sink, and come back three days later to a bag of green Trichoderma spores.
I'm going to have to try that Trichoderma in a bag culture.
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Old July 6, 2013   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayR View Post
I don't see it as a contradiction, her focus with compost tea is restoring the Soil Food Web, nutrient cycling and all. Overall disease suppression is a result of restoring that healthy soil biology. A home brew compost tea itself may or may not suppress certain pathogens as a foiliar spray or a soil drench, there is no reliable way of knowing that beforehand as we all agree.
Isn't it more than just the suggestion that bucket-bubbler fails in the disease suppression category. What I found most concerning was the table 6 on page 46 where it lists that both Bucket-bubbler and trough methods were not able to produce any detectable "active bacteria" nor "active fungi." How is one to read that and then feel "good" about using the 5-gal bucket-bubbler method?
-naysen
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Old July 6, 2013   #70
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On the microscope question, I found that Amazon had well rated (not sure about total quality) microscopes capable of 1000x magnification for less than $70. Since I don't like experimenting in the dark, I bit the bullet and purchased one today. Now I need to pull out the old microbiology lab book and remember how to isolate/discern between the various organisms (both good and bad).

Ray, thanks for providing the link. I'll be reading through the Yahoo thread soon.
-naysen
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Old July 6, 2013   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z_willus_d View Post
Isn't it more than just the suggestion that bucket-bubbler fails in the disease suppression category. What I found most concerning was the table 6 on page 46 where it lists that both Bucket-bubbler and trough methods were not able to produce any detectable "active bacteria" nor "active fungi." How is one to read that and then feel "good" about using the 5-gal bucket-bubbler method?
-naysen
At least that one failed in producing detectable active bacteria and fungi. That was the bucket bubbler method that was half filled with water and half with compost. Most bucket bubbler systems I've seen use the mesh bag method to suspend the compost above the bubbler. Big difference there?
As far as how they detect active bacteria and fungi vs. total bacterial and fungi mass, I don't know. Some bacteria are motile and they can be seen zipping around in the water under the microscope, that's an obvious way to detect active bacteria, but how do they detect active non-motile bacteria vs. bacteria that are just dormant?
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Old July 7, 2013   #72
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Alright Ray, I read through the rather short two post thread that you linked (the www.mycorrhiza.org/leaf.pdf link was dead unfortunately. It seems Dr. Ingham was raising the concern that we have folks (such as myself) using products, like mycrogrow soluble (http://www.fungi.com/product-detail/...uble-1-oz.html) and biotamax (http://www.biotamax.com/BiotaMax.html) that include and label Trichoderma, but at least some of the research suggests the Trichoderma will consume (seek and destroy the good fungus we're trying to either cultivate or even maybe that which has already taken hold in the biosphere. If this is so, how can these manufacturers actually include it in their tables/packets as a combo products? I feel like we (or certainly I) must be missing some of the puzzle pieces. I recently ordered another tablet of Biotamax with the intention of brewing a batch in a way similar to what GT87 was doing with Actinovate. I now have two reasons to be concerned with that approach (and likely many more than I know): (1) the Trichoderma aren't supposed to grow well in a fluid suspension; and (2) if they were to grow well, they'd wipe out any fungi I'd cultured in the batch and possibly the mycos and what-else??? in my soil/root structure on drenching.

So many unanswered questions in this field.
-n
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Old July 7, 2013   #73
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There's more than 2 posts to that thread, you have to scroll down further on the page to see all the replies. Yahoo groups can be confusing.

Manufacturers include Trichoderma spores along with mycorrhizae because there is no real world evidence that Trichoderma actively prey on Myco's in soil. I know about the in vitro experiments that showed that they will, but if that's the only food source available, what else would you expect them to do? Soil is not a controlled laboratory experiment, nor is it compost tea. In the soil environment the two seem to coexist just fine. If you read the whole thread, the debate is pretty interesting.

As far as "brewing a batch" of Trichoderma, GT87 is right that they need a substrate to grow on and a bubbling liquid culture is not ideal for that. The work General Hydroponics did in Europe with bioponics showed that they can do well in a liquid culture as long as there is a substrate to grow on (in that case they use a biofilter placed in the reservoir as a place where the fungi can colonize)

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Old July 7, 2013   #74
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Even with trichoderma as your only added microbe, YMMV with
fusarium. A member on here from somewhere in one of the
mid-Atlantic states tried RootShield, which is all trichoderma
harziana, to treat garden soil with chronic fusarium problems.
She was not impressed with the results, IIRC.

Remembering what greentiger87 said about "selection factors",
if a soil selects strongly for fusarium and and not so strongly for
or even actively selects against trichoderma, the fusarium is
simply going to outcompete it in that soil.

I have used bucket-bubbler brewed compost tea before. I was not
particularly aiming to treat disease. I looked at it as simply a kind of
"plant food". I gave each plant in a short row about half a gallon
in a soil drench. They put on a nice growth spurt over the next
week.
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Old July 11, 2013   #75
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Everything I've read about Trichoderma being used against Fusarium and Verticillium says the the results showed inhibition of the pathogen and significantly greater plant health and yields. That doesn't mean that they kill the pathogens off completely, I would think it would take a concerted effort on a number of fronts over time to select against the bad fungi in a big way.
Trichoderma virens is another species that is used as a control against Fusarium. Soilgard by Certis is all Trichoderma virens.
Other species of Trichoderma like Trichoderma viride and Trichoderma koningii also have shown positive results against Fusarium. Both of those are in Biotamax as well as Trichoderma harzianum and Trichoderma polysporum.
I've also read that the best method is to inoculate well before transplant, as early as planting the seeds so that the Trichoderma are well established around the roots as a shield against pathogenic fungi.
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