Beneficial Microbes

There are a handful of microorganisms that do the majority of the work keeping our plants feed and healthy. The final author of all nutrients are bacteria and fungus. All other micro and macro organisms only prepare the decomposing plant or animal material for the final conversion. The below list of microbes come up in conversations about live organic technology. A beginner interested in the subject should have a convenient list with a short description, for easy reference and reminder. Below find the stars of the symbiotic communal players.

Important Beneficial Bacteria

Bacteria are a large group of unicellular or multi-cellular organisms lacking chlorophyll, with a simple nucleus. They multiply rapidly by simple fission. Some species develop a highly resistant resting (spore) phase; some species reproduce sexually, and some are motile. In shape they are spherical, rodlike, spiral, or filamentous. They occur in air, water, soil, rotting organic material, animals and plants. Saprophytic forms are more numerous than parasites. A few forms are autotrophic.  (Walker, 1988)

Important Beneficial Fungus

Fungi  includes some of the most important microbes, ecologically and economically. By breaking down dead organic material, they continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems. Most vascular plants could not grow without the symbiotic fungi that entangle their roots and exchange essential nutrients.

Bacillus subtilis Biocontrol

Bacillus subtilis Biocontrol

Bacillus subtilis General Description Bacillus subtilis is one of the best understood prokaryotes, in terms of molecular biology and cell biology. Its superb genetic amenability and relatively large size have provided the powerful tools required to investigate a bacterium from all possible aspects. Bacillus subtilis is included in the genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped (bacillus), bacteria. Bacillus subtilis is an obligate aerobes (oxygen reliant). But more recently, it has been found to have the ability,when in the presence of nitrates or glucose, to be aerobic as well as anaerobic, making it a facultative anaerobes. Bacillus subtilis is an endospore forming bacteria, and the endospore that it forms allows it to withstand extreme temperatures as well as dry environments. Under stressful environmental conditions, the bacteria can produce oval endospores that are not true spores but which the bacteria can reduce themselves to and remain in a dormant state for very long periods. These characteristics originally defined the genus. Bacillus subtilis is not considered pathogenic or toxic and is not a disease causing agent. B. subtilis is readily present everywhere; the air, soil and in plant compost. In this article we are focusing on Basillus subtilis as a soil microorganism. However interestingly enough, it’s main habitat is in our stomachs. Although B subtilis is commonly found in soil, more evidence suggests that it is a normal gut commensal in humans. A 2009 study compared the density of spores found in soil (~106 spores per gram) to that found in human feces (~104 spores per gram). The number of spores found in the human gut is too high to be attributed solely to consumption through food contamination. Soil simply serves as a reservoir, suggesting that B. subtilis inhabits the gut and should be considered as a normal gut commensa.   Bacillus subtilis | Agricultural Tool Basillus subtilis produces an abundance of beneficial toxins and enzymes, most importantly it produces a toxin called subtilisin and a class of lipopeptide antibiotics called iturins.  Iturins has direct fungicidal activity on many pathogens, such as Rhyzoctonia Pythium, Phytophthora, Fusarium, Rhizopus, Mucor, Oidium, Botrytis, Colletotrichum, Erwinia, Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas, as well as nematodos. Iturins help B. subtilis bacteria out-compete other microorganisms by either killing them or reducing their growth rate. In this way subtilis takes up space on the roots, leaving less area or source for occupation by disease pathogens. There is a symbiosis component to the B. subtilis-plant dynamics as well. B subtilis feeds off plant exudates, which also serve as a food source for disease pathogens. Because it consumes exudates, it deprives disease pathogens of a major food source, thereby inhibiting their ability to thrive and reproduce. The exudes feed subtilis and this allows it to protect the plant from pathogens....

Read More

Hirsutellia Biocontrol Fungus

Hirsutellia Biocontrol Fungus

Hirsutella is a genus of asexually reproducing fungi in the Ophiocordycipitaceae family, which contain about 65 species (Hodge 1998). It is a moniliaceous, entomopathogenic fungal pathogen, which produces an insecticidal protein named hirsutellin. Hirsutellin has been described to be toxic against a wide rage of small insects including larvae, aphids, mites and nematodes. Hirsutella was originally described by French mycologist Narcisse Théophile Patouillard in 1892, creating interest in the use of these fungi as biological controls of insect pests. The teleomorphs of Hirsutella species belong to the genera Ophiocordyceps and Torrubiella. Hirsutella is a Hyphomycetes, a form-class of Fungi, part of what has often been referred to as Fungi imperfecti, Deuteromycota, or anamorphic fungi. Hyphomycetes lack closed fruiting bodies, and are often referred to as molds. They have unusual phialides that taper into a long narrow neck, and produce usually only 1–3 conidia in a dense terminal sphere of slime. Most Important Hursutella Species The genus Hursutella contain approximately 30 species. By no means all of these species are viable bio-control agents. The most important bio-control agents are Hirsutella verticillioides, Hirsutella thompsonii, Hirsutella citriformis and Hirsutella rhossiliensis. Rhossiliensis being very effective against nematodes. If you are up on your Spanish you might be interested in the report FAO Hirsutella put together jointly between the Instituto de Investigaciones and the Centro de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (CIAP), Universidad Central de Las Villas, Cuba. Hirsutellia Mode of Action Hirsutellia controls the growth of certain harmful bacteria and fungi, presumably by competing for nutrients, growth sites on plants, and by directly colonizing and attaching to fungal pathogens. A detailed description of the mode of action can be gleaned from the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology Entitled “The Mode of Action of Hirsutellin A on Eukaryotic Cells” In summary, Hirsutella has been found to be the first mycotoxin of a invertebrate mycopathogen determined to possess ribosomal inhibiting activity and appears to possess some specificity to invertebrate cells. Research Related to Biocontrol Agent Hirsutellia Toxicity of Hirsutella Against Mites– INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURE & BIOLOGY Toxicity of Hirsutella Against Mites- Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular I, Universidad Complutense Hirsutellin A, a toxic protein produced in vitro by Hirsutella thompsonii– Station de Recherches de Pathologie Comparee INRACNRS, Saint-Christol- Lez-Ales,...

Read More

Biofertilizer Aquaponics & Biochar

Biofertilizer Aquaponics  & Biochar

Biofertilizers (also known as “plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria” or PGPR) have come on rapidly in “sustainable” agricultural circles, providing eco-friendly organic agro-input. A biofertilizer contains living microorganisms which, when inoculated into biochar or soil, promotes growth by increasing the supply or availability of major nutrients, such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Bio-fertilizers add nutrients through the natural processes of nitrogen fixation, solubilizing phosphorus, and stimulating plant growth through the synthesis of growth-promoting bacterial bio-liquides. Bio-fertilizers do not contain any chemicals. Using Biochar in conjunction with aquaponics is a cutting edge innovation. Biochar has proven to be many times more useful as a medium than rocks. This is true especially when considering applications and/or inoculations with beneficial microorganisms. This is mainly due to the porous structure of Biochar which supports microbial communities. Due to immobilization of phosphate by mineral ions such as Fe, Al and Ca or organic acids, the rate of available phosphate (Pi) is always below plant needs. In addition, chemical Pi fertilizers are also immobilized in the soil, immediately, so that less than 20 percent of added fertilizer is absorbed by plants. Therefore, reduction in Pi resources, on one hand, and environmental pollutions resulting from both production and applications of chemical Pi fertilizer, on the other hand, have already demanded the use of new generation of phosphate fertilizers globally known as phosphate-solubilizing bacteria or phosphate...

Read More

Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Nitrogen-fixation

Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Nitrogen-fixation

Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus General Description Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus (formerly Acetobacter diazotrophicus) is a bacilli, aerobic, obligate endophytic (an endosymbiont), diazotrophic (bacteria that fix atmospheric N) bacterium discovered by Joana Dobereiner (1924 to 2000).  It has been undergoing lab and field tests in research institutions around the globe for the past 50 years, ever since it was first isolated from the phyllosphere as well as the rhizophere of inter-cellular spaces of sugarcane. It was discovered in the high yielding Brazilian sugar cane varieties (e.g. SP 70‐1143, SP 79‐2312, CB 45‐3, Krakatau). It is however found in other crops such as pineapple in Mexico and other South American countries. It may actually fix up to 70% of their N requirements.  Researchers feel G  diazotrophicusso is so important that recently a complete genome sequence of the sugarcane nitrogen-fixing endophyte Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus has been completed. It’s map is Pal5. You can catch up on the 50 year investigative history starting in Brazil on this pdf file entitled History on the biological nitrogen fixation research in graminaceous plants- special emphasis on the Brazilian experience. Or read the synopses in the info below. There are a lot more diazotrophic bacterium than I had at first realized, the rhizospheric (Beijerinckia fluminensis and Azotobacter paspali), associative, (Azospirillum lipoferum, A. brasilense, A. amazonense) and the endophytic (Herbaspirillum seropedicae, H. rubrisubalbicans, Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus, Burkholderia brasilensis and B. tropica). It’s a “must Read” for us natural-horticulturists. History on the nitrogen fixation research in graminaceous plants in Brazil This review covers the history on Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) in Graminaceous plants grown in Brazil, and describes research progress made over the last 40 years, most of whichwas coordinated by Johanna Döbereiner. One notable accomplishment during this period was the discovery of several nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as the rhizospheric (Beijerinckia fluminensis and Azotobacter paspali), associative (Azospirillum lipoferum, A. brasilense, A. amazonense) and the endophytic (Herbaspirillum seropedicae, H. rubrisubalbicans, Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus, Burkholderia brasilensis and B. tropica). The role of these diazotrophs in association with grasses, mainly with cereal plants, has been studied and a lot of progress has been achieved in the ecological, physiological, biochemical, and genetic aspects. The mechanisms of colonization and infection of the plant tissues are better understood, and the BNF contribution to the soil/plant system has been determined. Inoculation studies with diazotrophs showed that endophytic bacteria have a much higher BNF contribution potential than associative diazotrophs. In addition, it was found that the plant genotype influences the plant/bacteria association. Recent data suggest that more studies should be conducted on the endophytic association to strengthen the BNF potential. The ongoing genome sequencing programs: RIOGENE (Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus) and GENOPAR (Herbaspirillum seropedicae) reflect the commitment to the BNF study in Brazil and should allow the country to continue in the forefront of research related to the BNF process in Graminaceous plants. Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Taxonomy Kingdom: Bacteria Phylum: Proteobacteria Class: Alphaproteobacteria Order: Rhodospirillales Family: Acetobacteraceae Genus: Gluconacetobacter Species: diazotrophicus Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus | Diazotrophic Using seedlings grown aseptically in sucrose-containing culture media, it has been shown that inoculation with very low numbers of G. diazotrophicus results in extensive intracellular colonization of roots and progressive systemic intracellular root colonization, enabling non-nodular endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation using naturally-occurring nitrogen directly from the atmosphere.  The amazing thing is the bacterium is capable of effecting a very wide range of plants. One of the studies on this topic by The University of Nottingham’s Prof. Edward Cocking, showed results in Arabidopsis thaliana and the crop plants maize (Zea mays), rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticum aestivum), oilseed rape, Brassica napus), tomato Lycopersicon esculentum), and white clover (Trifolium repens). Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Multi Characteristics The nitrogen-fixation systems...

Read More

Fungus Isaria fumosorosea Controls Flys

Fungus Isaria fumosorosea Controls Flys

 Fungus Isaria fumosorosea General Information Isaria fumosorosea, was first described as Paecilomyces fumosoroseus by M. Wize in 1904. It is now considered a very effective fungal entomopathogen. It was discovered by M. Wize in a suffering sugar beet weevil in the Ukraine but has a huge distribution range. Isaria fumosorosea is a species complex rather than a single species. This means there are wide variations. Undoubtedly there will be taxonomic revisions of this group in the future (Zimmermann, 2008). Isaria fumosorosea is found in the soil, on plants, in the air, on every continent in the world except Antartica (Cantone and Vandenberg, 1998), (Zimmerman, 2008)  It has been found to effect over forty species of arthropods. Susceptible organisms include some of the more problematical horticultural pests. A few mentionables being, whiteflies, thrips, aphids and termites. (Smith, 1993; Dunlop et al. 2007; Hoy et al. 2010) Because of its wide range of arthropodial host, it has received significant attention in research as a biological control agent. Much of the research has been focused on controlling the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. We have an interesting post describing the use of Isaria in combination with  Lecanicillium and Paecilomyces lilacinus. We have found it quite effective. It is a product that will convince the traditional horticulturalist to think “microbe”.  Fungus Isaria fumosorosea Mode of Action Like most entomopathogenic fungi, Isaria fumosorosea, infects its host by dissolving the insects cuticle (Hajek and Leger, 1994). Various metabolites allow the Isaria fumosorosea to penetrate the host insect and inhibit its regulatory system. The active enzymes exuded by Isaria fumosorosea include proteases, chitinases, chitosanase, and lipase (Ali et al. 2010). These allow it to breach the arthopods cuticle and disperse through the hemocoel.  Isaria fumosorosea also produces beavericin (Luangsa-ard et al. 2009). Beavericin paralyzes the host cells (Hajek and Leger, 1994). Affectable arthropods exposed to blastospores and conidia show slowed growth and high counts of mortality (Dunlap et al. 2007).  Fungus Isaria fumosorosea Mode of Application Worldwide, it is currently used in 8 different mycoacaricides and mycoinsecticides (Faria and Wraight, 2007). All are considered safe and non-toxic to humans (Dalleau-Clouet et al. 2005)  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of its use is that it has little effect on most off target beneficial insects when used correctly (Zimmerman, 2008). Tests show that the fungus is not toxic to mammals nor birds as well as humans. Isaria fumosorosea can and should be applied in combination with other entomopathogenic fungus such as Lecanicillium and Beauvaeria. The diluted mix is sprayed not only on the upper and lower leaves, but over the entire phylosphere of the plant in the soft morning or evening light. Keep in mind there are several factors which influence the growth and stability of Isaria fumosorosea. These include temperature, relative humidity, radiation, and the host plant of the target insect (Zimmerman 2008). It works best at temperatures between 22⁰C and 30⁰C (72⁰F-86⁰F), and requires high humidity. Exposure to sunlight can have serious negative effects on survival of I. fumosorosea (Zimmerman 2008). Studies demonstrate that UV radiation, particularly wavelengths in the UV-A and UV-B(400 to 280 nm) region are the most problematical. Isaria fumosorosea was registered as an active ingredient in a Manufacturing Use Product and in one End-use Product for non-food use in greenhouses in October 1998 in the USA. These products are now labeled for non-food and for agricultural food uses. An exemption from tolerance was established in 40 CFR 180.1306 in September 2011.  References Ali, S., Huang, Z., and Ren, S. 2010. Production of cuticle degrading enzymes by Isaria fumosorosea and their evaluation as a biocontrol agent against diamondback...

Read More

Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis BTI | Larvae Toxin

Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis BTI  | Larvae Toxin

The following article was gleaned from Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology General Description  Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis According to Cornell University, there are over 100 species of bacteria that are thought to be pathonogenic to insects. So far very few of these have been studied enough to give us a working relationship with the microbe. But that is not the case with Bacillus thuringiensis. Since the 1960s this microbe has been developed as a microbial insecticide, of which several species are now available in laboratories world wide. When effectively applied to their primary hosts, caterpillars, some beetles and fly larvae (including fungus gnats), they stop eating, become limp, shrunken, die and decompose. These products have an excellent safety record and can be used on vegetables up to the day of harvest with no negative human responses. Because the bacteria must be eaten by the larvae to be effective, good spray coverage is essential. Mode of Action Diagram courtesy of Abbott Laboratories. The toxic crystal Bt protein is effective when eaten by insects with a alkaline gut pH and the specific gut membrane structures required to bind the toxin. The insect must have the correct physiology and be at larvic stage of development. The microbe must be eaten in sufficient quantity. When ingested by a larvae, the protein toxin damages the gut lining, effecting a gut paralysis. The insects stop feeding and die from the combined effects of starvation and tissue damage. The larva usually die within a few days or up to a week. The active ingredients in BTI are delta-endotoxins i. e. Cry4Aa, Cry4Ab, Cry10Aa, and Cry11Aa as well as Cyt1Aa (Cytolysin) proteins.  The chemical structure of the active ingredients (insecticidal crystalline toxins), are proteins of known amino acid sequences.   Application |  Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis Microorganisms always are more effective when combined with other compatible beneficial microbes. In this case application along with Paecilomyces , Beauveria and Metarhizium is recommended. These additional fungus will be effective against the adult stages while BTI acts contrary to its nymphal stages. When applied together, it is very effective. Human Safety | Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis Toxicity: Products based on Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) have a very high safety record. The insecticidal activity is limited to the Nematocera within the order of Diptera. Susceptible are Culicidae and Simuliidae. Bti did not demonstrate measurable toxicity when tested on animals for Acute Oral, Dermal, and Inhalation. In 1999, the World Health Organisation WHO stated that “Bti is safe for use in aquatic environments, including drinking-water reservoirs, for the control of mosquito, black-fly and nuisance insect larvae”. (Source: The International Program on Chemical Safety; Environmental Health Criteria 217, Bacillus thuringiensis, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1999. ISBN 92 4 157217 5) Genetic Modification | Bacillus thurigiensis var israelensis There is one controversial issue relating to BTI. As mentioned above, Bti is very intensively researched. In fact it was one of the first bacteria to be genetically mapped. So that means we now know the assigned DNA fragments of chromosomes which produce the insecticide crystals inside Bti. In recent years these same fragments have been inserted into certain vegetable chromosomes, like corn. The very convincing argument against this particular genetic manipulation, is that before the GM, the natural drama between the bacteria and the insect was outside the range of human contact. However, the same insecticide, now inside the corn, is ingested by us. References  Hoffmann, M.P. and Frodsham, A.C. (1993) Natural Enemies of Vegetable Insect Pests. Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 63 pp. Tanada, Y.,...

Read More

The Amazing Actinomycete Bacteria

The Amazing Actinomycete Bacteria

The Amazing Actinomycete Bacteria Actinomycetes differ from other soil bacteria in many ways. Actinomycetes develop filaments, almost the same as fungal hyphae. Some researchers believe Actinomycetes use these filaments for connecting themselves together with soil pieces. In doing so, they become too big to be eaten by their enemy the protozoan ciliates. Ciliate protozoans engulf and ingest our friends the aerobic bacteria. The most important note concerning Actinomycetes: they are particularly handy at decaying cellulose and chitin. These are two hard, brown carbon compounds in plants, fungus and arthropods, not typical foodstuffs for most other bacteria. Actinomycetes also are tailored to exist in a broader spread of pH compared to other bacteria. If these bacterial acrobatics are not enough to amaze you, here is one that will. Some plants form small pouches devoid of O2, anaerobic nodules, where the Actinomycetes use enzyme nitrogenase to transform nitrogen in the atmosphere to ammonia, NH3+. The image at the top of the page, shows these nodules in the root system of a tree, courtesy of www.toof.org.uk. Image: Actinomycetes |courtesy of...

Read More

Pseudomonas fluorescens Phosphate Solubilization

Pseudomonas fluorescens Phosphate Solubilization

Pseudomonas fluorescens General Description Pseudomonas fluorescens is a common Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium. It is found in many soils throughout the globe but in small numbers. The species name ‘fluorescens’ was coined because of its ability to secrete a soluble, green colored fluorescent pigment called pyoverdin. It is well known that Pseudomonas fluorescens, in association with the plant rhizosphere, is able to exert a beneficial effect upon plant growth. It’s use as a bio-fertilizer as well as a pathogen control agent for microbial-agriculture. This beneficial microbe is a commonly used strain of bacteria primarily because of it’s ability to liberate phosphorus for plant uptake. However it also promotes plant growth by suppressing pathogens in root zones. Pseudomonas fluorescens secretes antibiotics and hydrogen cyanide that are lethal to plant pathogens. So you can see why this bacterial species is a topic of common interest for microbial-horticulturalist all over the world.  Pseudomonas Mechanism for Phosphate Solubilization The following is a summery of the research review paper “Phosphate solubilizing bacteria and their role in plant growth promotion” by Hilda Rodríguez, of the Department of Microbiology, Cuban Research Institute. The principal mechanism for mineral phosphate solubilization of Pseudomonas is its production of organic acids and acid phosphatases which play a major role in the mineralization of organic phosphorous. Although several phosphate solubilizing bacteria occur in soil, usually their numbers are not high enough to compete with other bacteria commonly established in the rhizosphere. Thus, the amount of P liberated by them is generally not sufficient for a substantial increase in plant growth. Therefore, inoculation of plants by a target microorganism at a much higher concentration than that normally found in soil is necessary to take advantage of the property of phosphate solubilization for plant yield enhancement. It has been shown how phosphate solubilizing bacteria assists mycorrhizal fungus to further help plants [1,2]. Several studies have shown that P solubilizing bacteria interact with vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae by liberating phosphate ions in the substrate. This causes a synergistic interaction that allows for better (326 H. Rodríguez, R. Fraga/Biotechnology Advances 17 (1999) 319–339) use of insoluble phosphate sources [3-5]. The P solubilized by Pseudomonas fluorescens is more easily taken up by the plants through a mycorrhizae mediated channel between roots and surrounding soil.  This would allow nutrient transfer from soil to plants [6]. In fact, Toro et al. [7], using radioactive 32P labeling, demonstrated that phosphate- solubilizing bacteria associated with mycorrhizae improved mineral accumulation of phosphorus and nitrogen in plants. These authors suggested that the inoculated rhizobacteria could have released phosphate ions from insoluble rock phosphate and/or other P sources, which were then taken up by the external mycorrhizal mycelium. It is generally accepted that the major mechanism of mineral phosphate solubilization is the action of organic acids synthesized by soil microorganisms [8,9-14 ]. Production of organic acids results in acidification of the microbial cell and its surroundings. Consequently, Pi may be released from a mineral phosphate by proton substitution for Ca21 [15]. The production of organic acids by phosphate solubilizing bacteria has been well documented. Among them, gluconic acid seems to be the most frequent agent of mineral phosphate solubilization. It is reported as the principal organic acid produced by phosphate solubilizing bacteria such as Pseudomonas sp. References [1] Chabot R, Antoun H, Cescas MP. Stimulation de la croissance du mais et de la laitue romaine par desmicroorganismes dissolvant le phosphore inorganique. Can J Microbiol 1993;39:941–7. [2] Chabot R, Antoun H, Kloepper JW, Beauchamp CJ. Root colonization of maize and lettuce by bioluminiscent Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar. phaseoli. Appl Environ Microbiol 1996a;62:2767–72[3] Ray J, Bagyaraj DJ, Manjunath A. Influence of soil...

Read More

Springtails a Beneficial Arthropod

Springtails a Beneficial Arthropod

 “I Have a Springtail Infestation” When I am threw with a grow and replacing the BioChar and substrates in the container to grow another plant, I always keep an eye out for what I can see. I look for differences in root growth and infestations of arthropods. If things were done correctly, I always find Springtails, a beneficial arthropod, dominating the area in the bottom half of the container in the BC.  I find 100’s of thousands of the little white critters springing, walking and bouncing around, wondering who turned the lights on. But not to worry about this particular infestation. Springtails love moisture. They live out all their lives in the depths of the container, stimulating growth of your plants. Unless you are an organic soil technician, you probably don’t understand how substrates and soils work in the real world. Soil arthropods, soil microbes and roots work together as a combined system. Stimulating Mycorrhizae & Controlling Pathogens The subterranean environment is a web of organisms ranging from beneficial to pathogenic. The interactions among these organisms are very important for plant growth and health. Folsomia candida in the Biochar is feeding on fungal hyphael of mycorrhizae controlling fungal diseases. (Lubbock,1973). Grazing of mycorrhizae living on the roots of the plant can stimulate growth of the fungus which in turn, improves plant growth. Also, selective grazing by springtails is an important factor limiting the distribution of certain species of pathogenic fungi as well. They contribute to controlling plant fungal diseases through their active consumption of mycelia and spores of damping-off and pathogenic fungi. (Maria Agnese Sabatini & Gloria Innocenti (2001), Hiroyoshi Shiraishi, Yoshinari Enami & Seigo Okano (2003)) This effect is density-dependent. There should be a healthy population in the bottom biochar. Most plants are slow in taking up phosphorus and other substances from the soil unless it has mycorrhizae on its roots. Mycorrhizae, literally meaning fungus roots, are thread like fungal bodies that interact with plant roots. The healthy growth of a plant can depend on the population of springtails living in the soil. Springtails live by eating the tips of the mycorrhizae. This stimulates the mycorrhizae to grow, dissolve more nutrients in the soil around it, and in turn, feed it to the plant. More Reading about Springtails a Beneficial Arthropod There is s very well written paper by Deepmala Verma and A.K. Paliwal, in Biological Forum — An International Journal called Effects of springtails community on plant-growth which details this symbiotic relationship in more detail. REFERENCES Lubbock, J. Monograph of the Collembola and Thysanura; Ray Society: London, 1973. Maria Agnese Sabatini & Gloria Innocenti (2001). “Effects of Collembola on plant-pathogenic fungus interactions in simple experimental systems”. Biology and Fertility of Soils 33 (1): 62–66. Hiroyoshi Shiraishi, Yoshinari Enami & Seigo Okano (2003). “Folsomia hidakana (Collembola) prevents damping-off disease in cabbage and Chinese cabbage by Rhizoctonia solani“. Pedobiologia 47 (1):...

Read More

Beauveria bassiana Entomopathogenic Fungi

Beauveria bassiana Entomopathogenic Fungi

Beauveria bassiana General Information Beauveria bassiana, formerly also known as Tritirachium shiotae, is an entomopathogenic fungus (parasitic to insects) that grows naturally in soils throughout the world.  It acts as a parasite on a very wide variety of arthropods, including, whiteflies, termites, thrips, aphids, beetles,caterpillars, weevils, grasshoppers, ants, mealybugs, bedbugs and even malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Insects vary in susceptibility to different strains. Strains have been collected from different infected insects and cultured to create a particular product for commercial use. The product is made via a bio-fermentation process. The spores (conidia) are extracted and made into a sprayable form. Beauveria bassiana was named after the Italian entomologist Agostino Bassi. He first found B bassiana in 1835 as the cause of the muscardine disease of the domesticated silkworms. Supplemental Material Fact Sheet.pdf Beauveria bassiana Mode of Action Beauveria bassiana kills arthropods as a result of the insect coming into contact with the conidia (fungal spores). contact is made in several ways. The most common and effective is the spray droplets landing on the pest or by walking on a treated surface.  Once the fungal spores attach to the insect’s cuticle, the fungus spores germinate sending out threaded hyphae which penetrate the insect’s body and proliferate. It takes 3 to 5 days for an infected insects to die. The dead insect may serve as a source of spores for secondary spread of the fungus. An infected adult male will also transmit the fungus during mating. (Long et al. 2000). Click here to learn more The conidia of Beauveria. bassiana adhere to the insect cuticle by means of hydrophobic interaction between the spore wall and epicuticle lipids. The conidia germinate, and the germ tube penetrates the cuticle, using a specific series of enzymes, which in turn degrade the lipids, protein and chitin in the insect cuticle. In the insect body, the fungus multiplies in the haemocoel as a blastospore, or yeast-like cell, and enzymes begin to destroy the internal structures of the host insect causing morbidity within 36 – 72 hours. Reduced feeding and immobility are rapidly evident, The insect dies within between 4 to 10 days post-infection. The time to death will depend on the insect species, age and conidial dose. After death, the blastospores transform into mycelia, which emerge through the cuticle and form spores. These cover the cadaver as a characteristic white growth. Sporulation occurs only in conditions of high humidity. Beauveria bassiana Mode of Application The liquid spray should have a concentration of at least 2.5X109 viable spores. High humidity and water amplify the activity of the conidia and the infection. Fungal spores are readily killed by solar radiation. It is best to spray the plants with the anthropoid pests in the morning or late afternoon, in cool to moderate temperatures (Goettel et al. 2000, Wraight and Ramos 2002). Apply the Beauveria bassiana liquid spray to the top as well as the undersides of the leaves or wherever the arthropod primarily occurs. Good coverage is a must. The spores have a relatively short life cycle, so it is important that the spray has sufficient opportunity to contact the insect. For insects that bore into a plant, control is difficult. For best results, applications should be made during the early growth stages of the insect before much damage has occurred. Speed of kill depends on the number of spores contacting the insect, insect age, susceptibility and environmental conditions. Beauveria bassiana has a wide host range and should be considered a non-selective biological insecticide. These should not be applied to flowers visited by pollinating...

Read More

The Rhizosphere & Beneficial Microorganisms

The Rhizosphere & Beneficial Microorganisms

Living organic soils and the foods you apply to them should not only have large quantities of Beneficial Microorganisms (BM) but a large variety as well. In a few grams of good potting soil you will find hundreds of diverse varieties making up its 1,000,000,000 bacteria. Live Organic Fermented Liquid Fertilizers are bubbling with BMs, which ensure the microbe population is made up of the “good guys”. A large and divers community population will control pathogens. They compete with the pathogens for exudates, nutrients, air, water, and space. If the soil food web is a healthy one, the competition keeps the destructive microbes at bay. There are some other added benefits as well. The fungi hyphae extending around and near the plant’s roots act as an external protection to attack and defend plants and herbs roots from fugues or bacteria pathogens and other undesirable microorganisms. The photo, upper left, is a foraging, root-eating nematode, trapped by a fungal hyphae, Courtesy H. H. Triantaphyllou, American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. Microbes cover surface areas so completely, there is simply no place for pathogens to affix themselves. Should anything negatively affect the beneficial microbes and the quantities fall or disappear, the herb, flower or vegetable will most likely end up being infected. Specific soil fungus, named mycorrhizal fungi, set themselves up in a symbiotic partnership beside plant roots, providing them not only with an external barrier but with a varied nutritional supply as well. In return for root exudates, the fungus supply groceries to the roots with fresh H2O, N and P along with several other crucial plant nutritional needs. Bacterias also provide exudates, averting pathogenic agents. The exudents of bacteria are many. To digest and break down food they excrete alkaline substances that digest complex compounds so as o absorb simpler elements such as Nitrogen into their bodies. Additionally, they produce a bio-glue to affix themselves to surface areas. Often, bacteria operate in association with fungus in order to create defensive films, not simply around plant roots in the rhizosphere but around leaf surface areas, the phylosphere. Meanwhile, the foliage generate exudates which draw in bacteria in a similar way roots do. The bacteria operate as a physical shields to attack, protecting against pathogenic microbes from getting into the leaf structure. Several fungus as well as other microbes can generate a variety of inhibitory elements, such as natural vitamins and anti-biotics. These help retain or even increase herbal overall health. We all know penicillin, is released through a fungus living in soils, while streptomycinis is an exudent from a soil bacterium. Bacteria is the building block of all...

Read More

Endophytes Fungi & The Phyllosphere

Endophytes Fungi  & The Phyllosphere

A significant symbiotic partnership among fungi and plants is created by endophytes. Endophytic fungi, in contrast to their subterranean, root loving mycorrhizal fungus, have adjusted to exist in the upper components of plants. They reside in the stems, leave, and bark. Plant surfaces are taken over by countless endophytic fungal varieties. The main reason these types of microbes have escaped researchers awareness for so very long is that nearly all survive inside their host without any noticeable symptoms. Little by little the scientific community focused on the important role of endophytel fungus. Researchers have recognized endophytes importance since early 1900, however they attracted a lot more attention in the mid 1970s. This is when an assessment was made of livestock in various pastures and the grasses they were eating. Then, an analyze in the early ’80s with rye grass demonstrated exactly how endophytic fungus greatly improved the rye’s ability to resist insect damage. Afterwards research established that a few lawn grasses have an endophyte derived potential to deal with many other fungus. Endophytis fungus promises a new set of bioproducts to enhance plant growth, and health. This indicates many endophytic fungus display certain benefit to its host flowers and plants. As an example, several generate toxins which destroy aphids along with other pesky sucking bugs that assault the host. A few endophytes increase the host’s seedling germination, insuring group survival. Other Endophytic fungi generate antipathogenic compounds or stimulate the host herb to boost resistance to disorders. Several endophytic fungus begin the decomposition process as soon as the host plant dies. This ensures the recycling of nutrients, to the host plant’s. image credits: top, Fungal endophyte (Kaminskyj lab), right- Australia Pacific Science...

Read More

Bacteria & The Phyllosphere

Bacteria & The Phyllosphere

Prof. Julia Vorholt, Institute of Microbiology at ETH Zurich “One to ten million unicellular microorganisms live on every square centimeter of stems and foliage making the phyllosphere “the largest biological surface inhabited by microorganisms”, explains Prof. Julia Vorholt at the Institute of Microbiology at ETH Zuric. In recent years new investigative tools from microbiology have made it possible to gain a better insight into microorganisms and their function in complex microbe communities. “Two kinds of bacteria dominate this ecosystem, members of the Methylobacterium genus and unicellular organisms from the Sphingomonas genus. ”, says Vorholt. No matter what plant they studied, microbes from the sphingomonas and methylobacterium genera and their proteins always dominated the scenery. These researchers found over twenty five bacteria genera with more than a hundred species, living on plant leaves. The researchers in Switzerland also discovered previously unknown proteins, “which appear to be important for most bacteria on the leaves of plants”, says Julia Vorholt. What they found was Methylobacteria converting methanol produced by the plants into CO2 for energy. “It is perfectly feasible that the colonization by microbes like methylobacteria or sphingomonas could protect the plants from such attacks…. the bacteria even produce antibiotics to keep the plants healthy”, says Julia Vorholt....

Read More

Paecilomyces lilacinus

Paecilomyces lilacinus

Paecilomyces lilacinus General Description Here in the mountains of Costa Rica, there are whiteflys. Yes, “I have whiteflys!!” So I make the following statement with field experience authority. Paecilomyces lilacinus can be used against the nymphal stages of whiteflys, applied in combination with two other fungus, Isaria fumosorosea and Lecanicillium spp. The latter two of which are effective against the adult whiteflys while the Pae works on the larvae. Applying these three microbes together will bring down significantly the population of larvae and adults both. It’s a quite interesting combination that can be sprayed over the infested plants in one application. Fungus work better in heterogeneous groups than alone. Paecilomyces lilacinus Mode of Action The fungus Paecilomyces lilacinus in sufficient concentrations over 107 u.f.c/ml, produce hyphae over eggs and larvae on anthropoids of the geneses Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus and Radopholus producing deformities in the embryo.The hyphae grow over the egg, while the tips swell and create deformities. A penetration peg grows from the bottom of the hyphae (appressorium) into the egg. The eggs swell and buckle. As penetration continues and the eggs split while the hyphae fill the egg completely. The fungus then emerge to the egg surface producing first vegetative growth. After 5 days most of the eggs are infected. The young born infected soon die. Paecilomyces lilacinus Mode of Application Shake the bottles well before using. Dilute the OST liquids containing the fungus 4 to 1 with de-chlorinated water. Pass the liquid threw a strainer before placing it in your sprayer. Generously coat the bottom leaves  with the liquid solution. You will see most of the nymphs and adults feeding on the bottom of the leaves. But it is a good idea to have a well established fungal culture on the entire Phylospher. By this I mean spray the bottom of the leaves and the stems as well. De-chlorinating water is simply water that has been sitting over night with the lid of the bucket open to the air. Chlorine, over time, separates from the water and bubbles up and out. You can see that by filling a glass container up with tap water and letting it sit. Soon you will see the bubbles on the edges of the glass. That is chlorine gas. For other ways to de-cloronate, such as applying vitamin C, refer to our post De-chlorinate Water When Using Microbes. In rare cases, Paecilomyces lilacinus is on record as cause opportunistic systemic fungal diseases in humans. It has been implicate in eye, lung and skin infections. Personally, I have never known anyone that has had a problem in horticultural applications but be careful when handling the...

Read More

Beneficial Microbes in Hydroponics

Beneficial Microbes in Hydroponics

Beneficial Microbes | Pathogen Control One reason soil-less cultures were originally developed was to control soil borne diseases. Soil-less cultures provide several advantages for growers such as greater production of crops, reduced energy consumption, better control of growth and independence of soil quality. But root diseases still occur frequently in hydroponics and disease outbreaks are sometimes greater than in soil (Stanghellini and Rasmussen, 1994). Pythium and Phytophthora sp. are particularly well adapted to aquatic environments. Their growth in soil-less substrates is favored by the recirculation of the nutrient solution. These pathogenic microorganisms are usually controlled by disinfection methods but such methods are only effective as a preventive measure. More recently there has been an increase in investigations on proventing pathogens by the addition of antagonistic microorganisms.  For example the study and subsequent report Pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms in soilless cultures is a good example of this new interest in horticultural sciences. However much of the new research has yet to go deeply into the hydro-oganics where soil is a basic structure placed solidly in the system. The OST hydro-organic system’s inherent soil structure inoculates the water with elementary beneficial microorganisms constantly. The water, biofilm and substrate, with their established community, acts as a buffer against pathogen intrusion. Refer to the report Microbial ecosystem constructed in water for organic hydroponics pdf. In this report by NARO researcher Makoto Shinohara,  demonstrates how the susceptibility to bacterial wilt disease of tomato was examined by inoculation of the culture solution with Ralstonia solanacearum. His study shows that more than half of the plants grown with chemical fertilizer died from bacterial wilt disease, while there were no wilted tomato plants among those grown hydro-organically. However much of the new research has yet to go deeply into the hydro-oganics where soil is a basic structure placed solidly in the system. The OST hydro-organic system’s inherent soil inoculates the water with elementary beneficial microorganisms constantly. The water, biofilm and substrate, with their established community, acts as a buffer against pathogen intrusion. An established community of beneficial bacterias and fungus compete for room. They exude hydrolytic enzymes and antibiotics to suppress the growth of non communal pathogens. There is a synergism between the antibiotics and hydrolytic enzymes produced by bacteria. Firstly, the enzymes degrade the cell wall of the pathogen, and secondly, this enables the toxin to act more efficiently against the pathogen by gaining access at an intracellular level. Beneficial Microbes | Nitrification Nitrification is the aerobic conversion of ammonia into nitrates. The bacteria responsible for this process form a biofilm on all solid surfaces throughout the system that are in constant contact with the water. The submerged roots, substrate and tank walls combined have a large surface area, so that single floating bacteria can accumulate and begin to form their natural environment of a biofilm. Care for these bacterial colonies is important not only to keep pathogens in check, but also to regulate the full assimilation of ammonia and nitrite for effective Hydro-Organic Nitrification. Nitrification is one of the most important functions in the OTS Hydro-Organic system as it reduces the toxicity of the organic compounds in the water and allows the resulting nitrate compounds to be used by the plants for nourishment. Organic compounds can be converted into other nitrogenous compounds through healthy populations of Nitrosomonas bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites, and Nitrobacter bacteria that convert nitrites into nitrates, which is the preferred nitrogen for more than 90% of all plant...

Read More

Bacterial Biofilms

Bacterial Biofilms

Biofilm| Bacterias Natural State When we think of bacteria, beneficial or pathogenic, we imagine a single celled creature swimming independently looking for food. In actuality a bacteria’s natural state is in biofilms, referred to as  plaque or “slime”. The majority of all bacteria on Earth are located in biofim slime, thriving as complex colonies of co-dependent microbes in its self made matrix complete with irrigation and nutrient pathways. Slime or matrix associated microorganisms vastly outnumber organisms in suspension. These surface-bound bacteria behave quite differently from their planktonic counterparts. Planctonic is the word used to describe a free swimming individual bacteria in suspension. I have recently come across a super interesting article in Science Daily. It concerns biofilms forming when individual cells overproduce a polymer that sticks the cells together, allowing the colonization of liquid surfaces. While production of the polymer is metabolically costly to individual cells, the biofilm group benefits from the increased access to oxygen that surface colonization provides. The new findings are reported by Michael Brockhurst of the University of Liverpool. It is a “Must Read” for us all. How Biofilms Move Biofilm bacteria adhere to a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance, referred to as plaque or “slime”. The slime layer is composed of polysaccharides and proteins. It becomes a matrix where a great variety of waste digesting microbes are found in it’s stratified aerobic and anaerobic settings. Typical organisms include heterotrophic bacteria, nitrifying bacteria nitrosomonas and nitrobactor. The process of surface adhesion and biofilm development is a survival strategy employed by virtually all bacteria and refined over millions of years. This process is designed to anchor microorganisms in a nutritionally advantageous environment and to permit their escape to greener pastures when essential growth factors have been exhausted.  The biofilm protects its inhabitants from predators, dehydration, biocides, and other environmental extremes while regulating population growth and diversity through primitive cell signals. But don’t let your imagination rest there. Image… these creatures express different genes when in a communal setting. They change mode depending on what it’s new purpose is. This supports a higher growth potential, as well as improving efficiency of nutrients reaching desired cells via irrigation type pathways. When fully hydrated, the maytix is predominantly water. In essence, the matrix ia a 3D force field that surrounds, anchors, and protects the bacterial colony. Biofilms | Integral Component In our hydro-tanks as in all of natures settings, biofilms are an integral component of the environment. The report, Global Environmental Change: Microbial Contributions, Microbial Solutions, points out: “. . .the basic chemistry of Earth’s surface is determined by biological activity, especially that of the many trillions of microbes in soil and water. Microbes make up the majority of the living biomass on Earth and, as such, have major roles in the recycling of elements vital to life.” Bacteria are early colonizers of clean surfaces submerged in water.  While some bacteria produce effects that are detrimental to surrounding organisms or hosts, most bacteria are harmless or even beneficial. Aerobic biofilms require water, oxygen and a nutrient food source to maintain cell function. Microbial metabolism causes biodegradation of organic matter and production of metabolic by-products including carbon dioxide (CO2) and deceased micro-organisms. Deceased biofilm components slough off the surface of active biofilm by water turbulence, mechanical sloughing and morph in changing environmental...

Read More

Bacterial Biofilm Water & Ground Treatment

Bacterial Biofilm Water & Ground Treatment

The below article is courtesy of http://biofilmbook.hypertextbookshop.com. It demonstrates two practical uses of a bacterial biofilm. Normally people encounter biofilm (slim) and really don’t know what it is. We all have seen it in it’s worst light. Having a bacterial biofilm on our hydro tanks does pose certain physical problems. It could clog pump lines, for example. But it also has it’s benefits. It is a nitrification dynamo turning organic carbon complexes into simple, soluable nutrients while keeping bacterial pathogens at bay. Water and Wastewater Treatment Engineers have taken advantage of natural biofilm environmental activity in developing water-cleaning systems. Biofilms have been used successfully in water and wastewater treatment for over a century. English engineers developed the first sand filter treatment methods for both water and wastewater treatment in the 1860s. In these filtration systems the surfaces of the filter media act as a support for microbial attachment and growth, resulting in a biofilm adapted to using the organic matter found in that particular water. The end result of biological filtration is a conversion of organic carbon in the water into bacterial biomass. Ideally, this biomass is immobilized on the filter media and removed during the backwash cycle. Drinking water and treated wastewater that have been subjected to microbial activity in a controlled manner in a treatment plant are more “biologically stable” and therefore less likely to contribute to microbial proliferation downstream in distribution system or receiving water. Biologically treated water typically has lower disinfectant demand and disinfection by-product formation potential than conventionally treated water if the source water is high in organic carbon. As drinking water utilities move to using ozone as a primary disinfectant and for taste/odor/color control, biological filters may be necessary to reduce the concentrations of biodegradable organic carbon entering the distribution system. Remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater In soil, biofilm morphology can be highly variable, ranging from patchy discontinuous colonies to thick continuous films, depending on environmental conditions. When toxic organic contaminants (i.e. gasoline, fuel oil, chlorinated solvents) are accidentally released underground, the native soil bacterial population will, to the degree possible, adjust their ecological composition in order to use the organic contaminants as a food source. This process is commonly referred to as “bioremediation” and if successful, potentially has the ability to render initially toxic organic material into harmless by-products. Typical biofilm cell densities found in the vicinity of contaminated ground water sites vary from around 105 to 108 cells per gram of soil. Bioremediation has emerged as a technology of choice for remediating groundwater and soil at many sites contaminated with hazardous wastes. Bioremediation results in 1) the reduction of both contaminant concentration and mass for many subsurface contaminants (e.g., petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated organics and nitroaromatics) and/or 2) a beneficial phase transfer or speciation change (e.g., for heavy metals and radionuclides). Subsurface bioremediation is controlled by abiotic geochemical and transport phenomena, including multiphase flow, convective mass transport, adsorption/desorption, and phase partitioning, as well as biotic processes, such as microbial biomass growth and contaminant metabolism. Above article courtesy of...

Read More

Mycorrhizal Fungus

Mycorrhizal Fungus

Mycorrhizal Fungus is one of the most researched fungi. It  has long been recognized as a very important component to plant health. It maintains a symbiotic relationship to more than 80% of all plants. With it’s extensive hyphae network of pseudo-roots, it increases plant water and nutrient uptake 10 to 1000 times. This is why a well planed live organic growing system can create plants bigger, healthier and more nutritious than any chemical regime in existence. This is not an advertising hype, nor an eco-nut rant. One thing however must be soberly understood. A well educated grower in traditional synthetic based program will outperform a novice organic grower. A good basic knowledge and a lot of care must go into an organic operation, just like all operations. Technical organic knowledge is being defined more and more everyday and should be kept up with for maximum benefits and results. Mycorrhizal benefits to plant growth can not be duplicated artificially. Mycorrhizal fungi are involved with a wide variety of important activities that benefit plant growth. The biological interplay is just too intense, complex and extensive to duplicate. It would be like trying to put together an organism with chemicals. It will always be way beyond human capacity and understanding. But with a new understanding of these limits the mystery of organics in nature can be applied with the same technical skill as trying to duplicate nature, with interesting results. A very good report was written  by Michael P. Amaranthus, Ph.D. originally appeared in The Spring 1999 issue of Florida Landscape Architecture...

Read More

Trichoderma | Astonishing Fungi

Trichoderma |  Astonishing Fungi

Trichoderma Fungus General Description The fungus Trichoderma is a filamentous, free-living fungi that are common in most soils and root ecosystems worldwide. Trichoderma have been found in prairies, forests, salt marshes, desert sands, lake water, dead plant material, seeds and air. They are also found in living roots of virtually any plant (1). Biocontrolfungi of Trichoderma have developed an astonishing ability to interact, both parasitically and symbiotically, in a variety of substrates, plants and with other microbes (2,3). Today Trichodermas is used more extensively in agriculture than any other single microbe. There are many effective Trichoderma species. So far, there are only 7 important Trichoderma species used commercially but more are being added to the list every year. Trichoderma asperellum Trichoderma harzianum Trichoderma hamatum Trichoderma koningii Trichoderma longibrachiatum Trichoderma pseudokoningii Trichoderma viride Trichoderma Fungus Mode of Action Trichoderma’s first claim to fame a few years ago was being a microbial predator, highly antagonistic of other fungus. They are specialists at killing other fungi with a  toxin. They then consume their prey by dissolving them with an exudent of lytic enzymes. This predatory behavior has led to their use to control other fungi plant disease. Interestingly enough it does not seam to have a negative influences over mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhyzal is another very beneficial fungus in the rhysophere. Cornell University’s recent research is quite interesting. It has found that Trichoderma’s disease control function is only the tip of the iceberg. In actuality, Trichoderma has a quite well defined symbiotic relationship with plant roots. They not only inhibit other fungus but supplying nitrogen to plant roots much like mycorrhizal fungus Trichoderma establish robust and long-lasting colonizations of root surfaces and penetrate into the epidermis and a few cells below this level. It then release different compounds that induce localized or systemic resistance responses. This explains their lack of pathogenicity to plants. These root–microorganism associations cause substantial changes to the plant proteome and metabolism. A recent discovery in several labs is that some strains induce plants to “turn on” their native defense mechanisms gives the impression that Thrichoderma will also control pathogens other than fungi. Plants are protected from numerous classes of plant pathogen by responses that are similar to systemic acquired resistance and rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance. Trichoderma Fungus Mode of Application Trichoderma is normally supplied as a culture developed on softened rice. Place a kilo of this inoculated rice in a pale of de-chlorinated water along with 5ml of any available surface tension breaker. Let it sit for an hour or so as to let the rice soften further. Grind the rice between your hands to liberate the fungus from the rice. Do this grinding for a few minutes until the Trichoderma is practically all washed off of the rice. The rice will be a much lighter shade of blue-green at this point. Strain the liquid in a fine meshed food strainer to take out the larger chunks of rice. This is important only if you are going to be spraying the liquid on the phylosphere of the plants for fungal control, so the spray head doesn’t clog. If it is to be applied as a drench on roots, obviously there is no need for pre-straining. References 1. Monte, E. 2001. Understanding Trichoderma: Between biotechnology and microbial ecology. Int. Microbiol. 4:1-4. 3. Harman, G. E., and Kubicek, C. P. 1998. Trichoderma and Gliocladium, Vol. 2. Enzymes, Biological Control and Commercial Applications. Taylor & Francis, London. 3. Kubicek, C. P., and Harman, G. E. 1998. Trichoderma and Gliocladium. Vol. 1. Basic Biology, Taxonomy and Genetics. Taylor & Francis,...

Read More

Cellulomonas Bacteria

Cellulomonas Bacteria

Research has found that plant photosynthesis produces up to 1.5 1011 tons of dry plant material on earth every year. This huge amount of plant material is primarily composed of plant cell wall polymers of lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin. The degradation of these enormous amounts of plant cell wall polymers is carried out by microorganisms, the most important being the aerobic Cellomonas Bacteria. This bacteria uses a series of exudents containing enzymes that are specially effective at breaking down cellulose walls. Cellulomonas fimi was one of the first bacteria to have it’s DNA sequence mapped. It therefore is one of the most researched bacteria. Breaking down cell walls is one of the most important phenomenons in fermentation and bacteria activity. Understanding more would help industries such as pulp and paper. Berkeley Lab tests double-threat microorganisms that can tolerate alkali and break down cellulose The only truly practical bio-fuels will be those made from abundant feedstock like switch-grass, wheat straw, and other woody plants, whose cell walls consist of lignocellulose. After pretreatment to remove or reduce the lignin, the sugary remains of cellulose and hemicellulose are fermented by microorganisms to yield the bio-fuel. “Each additional step in the process adds to the cost,” says Michael Cohen, a visiting professor of biology at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of bio-fuel processing. “The species of bacteria we’re testing may be able to combine two important steps into one.” Cohen found the unique strain of bacteria, which can tolerate high alkalinity and degrade cellulose at the same time, in a strange and isolated part of California called The Cedars, located inland from Timber Cove in the state’s Outer Coast Range. The site’s deep canyons and rocky serpentine barrens, all but invisible from the area’s few public roads, create a biological island that is home to living things rarely seen elsewhere. Eroding serpentine rock in The Cedars creates highly alkaline springs. Lignin in plant matter that falls into the springs is attacked by the alkalinity, while alkili-tolerant strains of Cellulomonas and other microorganisms break down the cellulose and process the...

Read More