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View Full Version : When under attack, plants can signal microbial friends for help


ICT Bill
10-21-2008, 09:46 PM
Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that when the leaf of a plant is under attack by a pathogen, it can send out an S.O.S. to the roots for help, and the roots will respond by secreting an acid that brings beneficial bacteria to the rescue.

"Plants are a lot smarter than we give them credit for," says Bais from his laboratory at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

"People think that plants, rooted in the ground, are just sitting ducks when it comes to attack by harmful fungi or bacteria, but we've found that plants have ways of seeking external help," he notes.

In a series of laboratory experiments, the scientists infected the leaves of the small flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana with a pathogenic bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae. Within a few days, the leaves of the infected plants began yellowing and showing other symptoms of disease.

However, the infected plants whose roots had been inoculated with the beneficial microbe Bacillus subtilis were perfectly healthy.

Farmers often add B. subtilis to the soil to boost plant immunity. It forms a protective biofilm around plant roots and also has antimicrobial properties, according to Bais.
http://www.physorg.com/news143465448.html

This is not part of the article but bacillus subtillus is also an excellent enzyme producer that attacks many forms of root feeding bad guys

treegal1
10-21-2008, 11:46 PM
and the punch line, ICT tea has lots of B subtilis in it.........add some npp and its real good at killing.

an who thanks for the link Bill, maybe next time they will use something use full instead of a simple model plant with a small gene. eh its still proof that it works.

aren't you supposed to be up early for the GIE show??? what are you doing up on the boards this late??? last minute prep and angst

ICT Bill
10-27-2008, 03:01 PM
Show went great, we really had a good time and met a lot of folks that are on here.

Yeah I agree about the narrow focus of some of these studies. Soil dynamics are so fluid that they have to focus on one little thing tp prove the initial hypothisis

tadhussey
10-27-2008, 04:01 PM
We've found that adding b. subtilis to our compost teas significantly reduced the fungal numbers in our tea vs the control.

DUSTYCEDAR
10-27-2008, 09:39 PM
but it taste great

ICT Bill
10-28-2008, 10:18 AM
but it taste great

Less filling

Tad, makes sense, those guys (b subtillus) are voracious eaters and can get numbers up so quickly, it is pretty amazing. They will consume resources faster than any fungi for sure. In the soil they are excellent nutrient miners.

They are also excellent at producing enzymes, there are several triggers that will produce different results

As a foliar they work great to combat fungal disease

tadhussey
10-28-2008, 12:48 PM
I definitely agree that they serve a purpose, I just hope people aren't putting them down indescriminately.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-28-2008, 01:33 PM
tad,

usefull info about brewing with that strain,
thanks

tadhussey
10-28-2008, 02:02 PM
With compost tea you want to have the full complement of the soil food web and the highest diversity of microbes in your brew as possible. When you add a high concentration of any particular species, you can pontentially throw this nutrient cycling process out of whack.

That's why you only want to add particular beneficial species in isolation when you know exactly what they do and you have a specific problem that they address (disease, etc...).

It's also good to look at what caused your plants to become diseased or stressed in the first place and address that issue for a long term solution.

These are all concepts I've derived from reading Arden Andersen and Dr. Ingham, and my own personal experiences support these theories as well. With organics we're really going for a symbiosis on a microbial level.

NattyLawn
10-28-2008, 02:28 PM
I think the brewers have added this to tea to see if you can grow it out, as bacillus subtillus or Seranade is not a cheap product. Instead of adding to tea to grow it out, maybe adding foods like molasses would help.

I definitely agree with Tad though, as a balanced tea is key. A lot of people I talk to are hung up on the bacterial vs. fungal debate.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-28-2008, 04:58 PM
are any of you guys have success growing out specific isolated commercial innoculems?

ICT Bill
10-28-2008, 06:23 PM
are any of you guys have success growing out specific isolated commercial innoculems?

yes......................... :)

DUSTYCEDAR
10-28-2008, 06:57 PM
Do they like tastykcakes?

tadhussey
10-28-2008, 08:00 PM
Here's a quote I pulled from this site:

http://www.agriton.nl/higa.html

Unfortunately certain microbial cultures have been promoted by their suppliers as being effective for controlling a wide range of soil-borne plant diseases when in fact they were effective only on specific pathogens under very specific conditions. Some suppliers have suggested that their particular microbial inoculant is akin to a pesticide that would suppress the general soil microbial population while increasing the population of a specific beneficial microorganism. Nevertheless, most of the claims for these single-culture microbial inoculants are greatly exaggerated and have not proven to be effective under field conditions. One might speculate that if all of the microbial cultures and inoculants that are available as marketed products were used some degree of success might be achieved because of the increased diversity of the soil microflora and stability that is associated with mixed cultures. While this, of course, is a hypothetical example, the fact remains that there is a greater likelihood of controlling the soil microflora by introducing mixed, compatible cultures rather than single pure cultures (Higa, 1991).

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-28-2008, 08:11 PM
tad,
diversity is key......no?


bill,

buying and then blending don't count:nono:

phasthound
10-28-2008, 08:32 PM
Here's a quote I pulled from this site:

http://www.agriton.nl/higa.html

Unfortunately certain microbial cultures have been promoted by their suppliers as being effective for controlling a wide range of soil-borne plant diseases when in fact they were effective only on specific pathogens under very specific conditions. Some suppliers have suggested that their particular microbial inoculant is akin to a pesticide that would suppress the general soil microbial population while increasing the population of a specific beneficial microorganism. Nevertheless, most of the claims for these single-culture microbial inoculants are greatly exaggerated and have not proven to be effective under field conditions. One might speculate that if all of the microbial cultures and inoculants that are available as marketed products were used some degree of success might be achieved because of the increased diversity of the soil microflora and stability that is associated with mixed cultures. While this, of course, is a hypothetical example, the fact remains that there is a greater likelihood of controlling the soil microflora by introducing mixed, compatible cultures rather than single pure cultures (Higa, 1991).

and the next paragraph says;
Even so, the use of mixed cultures in this approach has been criticized because it is difficult to demonstrate conclusively which microorganisms are responsible for the observed effects, how the introduced microorganisms interact with the indigenous species, and how these new associations affect the soil/plant environment. Thus, the use of mixed cultures of beneficial microorganisms as soil inoculants to enhance the growth, health, yield, and quality of crops has not gained widespread acceptance by the agricultural research establishment because conclusive scientific proof is often lacking.

Tad, I'm not picking a fight, just pointing out that there are many different ways of looking at things. A lot has been learned in this field since 1991. Last year I was speaking with a researcher at Cornel who was working with worm castings. She expressed her concern that the microbial activity was so interactive it would be difficult to scientifically "prove" how good worm castings work.

I brew my own teas and I use other inoculates and have had success using them individually and in conjunction with each other. It's always good to add tools to the toolbox.

tadhussey
10-28-2008, 08:48 PM
Barry,

I took that next paragraph as stating not that mixed cultures don't work, just that we need more data and research to support their use. I don't find this contradictory in the least bit, as it's something that I hear Dr. E, Arden Andersen, Higa (in this instance), and many others saying all the time. This is a subject that Dr. Ingham has struggled with her entire career! We haven't identified many of the microbial species in the soil precisely because we can't culture them. We don't know what they do, or what they're role is in the soil food web. That's why diversity is key.

My whole point is this:

Biological inoculums of a single species will have an impact on the soil food web. Nutrient cycling requires a balance of organisms and a high diversity of species. There are beneficial species that have been discovered and studied. In specific instances where the soil food web is out of whack (where you have a pre-existing disease problem for example) it may be appropriate to add a high concentration of a particular culture that's been known to combat that disease or problem. We found in compost tea that by adding serenade, we lost all our beneficial fungi. Wouldn't the same occur at some level in the soil? Couldn't it potentially upset the balance of microbial diversity and activity already occurring in your soil?

Interesting discussion though.....

:-)

ICT Bill
10-28-2008, 09:29 PM
My whole point is this:

Biological inoculums of a single species will have an impact on the soil food web. Nutrient cycling requires a balance of organisms and a high diversity of species. There are beneficial species that have been discovered and studied. In specific instances where the soil food web is out of whack (where you have a pre-existing disease problem for example) it may be appropriate to add a high concentration of a particular culture that's been known to combat that disease or problem. We found in compost tea that by adding serenade, we lost all our beneficial fungi. Wouldn't the same occur at some level in the soil? Couldn't it potentially upset the balance of microbial diversity and activity already occurring in your soil?

Interesting discussion though.....:-)

It is difficult at best to drill down to certain applications and describe how they work or don't work. I disagree that single species inoculants have an impact on the diversity. There are times where you may need to consume resources in order to stop a opportunist, it is common practice in organic farming to apply bacillus subtillus and several other microbes for an end results, is it wrong? who knows. does it work? in most instances

We often get an answer, when the question is asked "why do you apply that", because that is what I have always done, no science it just seems to work

ICT Bill
10-28-2008, 09:32 PM
tad,
diversity is key......no?


bill,

buying and then blending don't count:nono:

Want a tour? I am not appreciating your negativity and do believe that you need to focus your angst somewhere else.

Have tried our product? please answer the question

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-28-2008, 10:07 PM
dusty,

they like TRIX.......oh wait trix are for kids


this is a good discussion and brings up good points. i would think diversity is always key and monoculture's or cultures laking any real diversity could possibly hurt the balance of the food web if they are destructive to beneficial's and/or fast colonizers...... after these type of products are used some repopulating of diverse#'s of beneficial's seems in order immediately to balance out community

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-28-2008, 10:17 PM
bill,
you culture them ur self?

watching someone sitting in a warehouse and turning the knobe on the IBC and bottling
doesn't sound like a fun tour. buy your product.............though i have made my self clear on that before?

Kiril
10-29-2008, 02:47 AM
nature = diversity. nuff said.

tadhussey
10-29-2008, 03:00 PM
Bill,

I don't feel like we're necessarily all that far apart on this one. You stated:

"There are times where you may need to consume resources in order to stop a opportunist, it is common practice in organic farming to apply bacillus subtillus and several other microbes for an end results, is it wrong? who knows. does it work? in most instances"

Doesn't that mean that you're using this particular species to address a very specific problem? This is the instance would I would advocate the use of a single species. For all other applications though, I would go for a diversity of biological species for the reasons I've listed above.

I just wanted to state also, that I'm not making any reference or commentary to any particular product or products (except for maybe Serenade from my earlier posts). I'd like to keep this as a theoretical discussion, focusing on the benefits of single species inoculums vs adding a more biologically diverse inoculum.

phasthound
10-29-2008, 07:24 PM
Barry,

I took that next paragraph as stating not that mixed cultures don't work, just that we need more data and research to support their use. I don't find this contradictory in the least bit, as it's something that I hear Dr. E, Arden Andersen, Higa (in this instance), and many others saying all the time. This is a subject that Dr. Ingham has struggled with her entire career! We haven't identified many of the microbial species in the soil precisely because we can't culture them. We don't know what they do, or what they're role is in the soil food web. That's why diversity is key.

My whole point is this:

Biological inoculums of a single species will have an impact on the soil food web. Nutrient cycling requires a balance of organisms and a high diversity of species. There are beneficial species that have been discovered and studied. In specific instances where the soil food web is out of whack (where you have a pre-existing disease problem for example) it may be appropriate to add a high concentration of a particular culture that's been known to combat that disease or problem. We found in compost tea that by adding serenade, we lost all our beneficial fungi. Wouldn't the same occur at some level in the soil? Couldn't it potentially upset the balance of microbial diversity and activity already occurring in your soil?

Interesting discussion though.....

:-)

Tad,

We don't disagree at all. I know diversity works very well for plant health maintenance. If we can convince people to be on a regular program, biodiversity can prevent many problems. But let's face it, there are many problems that need to be dealt with on an individual or "crises" basis. Then focused treatments, followed up with preventative maintenance are the best solution.

Charlie,
Would you rather use a pesticide or a biological product to deal with specific problems? :confused:
I am not picking a fight, just discussing.

ICT Bill
10-29-2008, 08:56 PM
Hey Tad, no issues here at all, happy to discuss

It is actually a tough thing to discuss without the question, usually it is someone saying I have this problem how do I fix it.

I know we get a bad rap with the diversity thing but let me point out a couple things, when we do soil food web testing our #3 accelerator product often comes back with more bacteria and fungi than the engineered #2 compost tea bottle, not by alot. and not in the latest version for sure, we have increased biology counts by 100 fold

Why is that? we don't add any biology to the bottle. we do add humate, fish, kelp to it though, AH HAH biological inputs, very diverse biological inputs

I was surprised the fist time Paul sent the tests back, where did they come from??? from the fish, kelp and humate is where. We were not counting on having to put the #3 to sleep, it actually spewed from the bottles early on, not good especially on my desk

anyway I'm not sure where to start the discussion

tadhussey
10-29-2008, 10:53 PM
Bill,

I don't want this thread to turn into a comparison of your product to AACT. I feel like we've covered the differences in prior threads (hmmm....maybe we need a sticky on that for new forum folks).

I wouldn't presume to comment on a product that I have no experience with. I've only worked on the AACT side of things, as you already know.

I'm not here to criticize, as I do think there is a place in organics for single species biological inoculums (which isn't exactly what you have though either). In general, and this is a generalization, you're better off getting a diversity of organisms out there and letting nature restore any imbalances.

That's all I've got....

~Tad

PS: what are AH HAH biological inputs?

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-30-2008, 12:00 AM
barry,

is that a trick question?.............tell me if i'm wrong.... to use a biological product for disease or insect legally it would have to be registered as a pesticide...no?


anyways of course i would what to use as natural a product as possible.. that being said i want to use a product to will deliver RESULTS as well as i think you follow the same philosophy...:)

as you know too that i am pretty new to the world of using biology to my favor
but i get me nervous when people find,name, patten, test in lab, with cloudy field reliability
put it in a bottle and tell me it's a cure all...

nothing i stated said some of this mono culture's don't have value. but through my study of plant and soil sciences diversity seems to be the key to balance and regulation in microbe community's.

asking questions, experimenting on our own, questioning manufacturer's claims makes things clearer and separates us from the sheep

Kiril
10-30-2008, 12:03 AM
I do think there is a place in organics for single species biological inoculums

My thoughts

..... akin to giving a blind man a loaded gun on a shooting range
..... one hop, skip, and jump away from bio-engineered microbes

History is littered with disastrous examples of "good ideas" with regard to introduction of a species into an ecosystem for various reasons, be it pest control, food, or a cool looking plant. Stick with what nature can provide on it's own ... encourage a balanced ecosystem that is regionally appropriate and sustainable.

NattyLawn
10-30-2008, 12:04 AM
asking questions, experimenting on our own, questioning manufacturer's claims makes things clearer and separates us from the sheep

Great point here Charlie. You have to have time to experiment and "play" with different formulations and products. If you keep doing the same old thing, you will eventually get left behind.

tadhussey
10-30-2008, 04:11 PM
My thoughts

..... akin to giving a blind man a loaded gun on a shooting range
..... one hop, skip, and jump away from bio-engineered microbes

History is littered with disastrous examples of "good ideas" with regard to introduction of a species into an ecosystem for various reasons, be it pest control, food, or a cool looking plant. Stick with what nature can provide on it's own ... encourage a balanced ecosystem that is regionally appropriate and sustainable.

Would you consider adding lady bugs to combat an aphid problem to be an issue? "Encourage" is a bit of a slippery slope, as each person would have an entirely different viewpoint on what would be acceptable. Everyone in this industry is either selling or adding inputs into ecosystems, how do you determine which are appropriate and which aren't?

I agree 100% with your statement above, just curious where you "draw the line" in this regard.

phasthound
10-30-2008, 07:01 PM
barry,

is that a trick question?.............tell me if i'm wrong.... to use a biological product for disease or insect legally it would have to be registered as a pesticide...no?


anyways of course i would what to use as natural a product as possible.. that being said i want to use a product to will deliver RESULTS as well as i think you follow the same philosophy...:)

as you know too that i am pretty new to the world of using biology to my favor
but i get me nervous when people find,name, patten, test in lab, with cloudy field reliability
put it in a bottle and tell me it's a cure all...

nothing i stated said some of this mono culture's don't have value. but through my study of plant and soil sciences diversity seems to be the key to balance and regulation in microbe community's.

asking questions, experimenting on our own, questioning manufacturer's claims makes things clearer and separates us from the sheep

Charlie,

Well, I can't pretend to understand why the EPA registers Bt but exempts other products, :confused: but there are several exempt products that claim to have pesticide tendencies.

I do agree with your post and your philosophy, I hope you understand that. More people need to learn from experience rather than follow the herd. I grew up when "Question Authority" was a rallying call, now everyone just watches TV. :(

One thing to keep in mind as far as delivering results, there are consequences from every action we take. So when we chose an action, sometimes it may not be as effective as others but the consequences are not as detrimental.

So, diversity is everything, but not quite. :)

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-30-2008, 10:21 PM
[QUOTE=phasthound;2580112]Charlie,



One thing to keep in mind as far as delivering results, there are consequences from every action we take. So when we chose an action, sometimes it may not be as effective as others but the consequences are not as detrimental.

i agree... and i understand what ur saying

Kiril
10-30-2008, 10:44 PM
Would you consider adding lady bugs to combat an aphid problem to be an issue?

Depends. If they are already a natural part of the system, not a problem as long as you don't overdo it.

"Encourage" is a bit of a slippery slope

Not the way I see it. By encourage I mean encourage diversity. A natural balance of prey and predators. Use design and management methods to encourage natural predator populations if you have pest problems, like providing habitat for them. Using plants that are regionally appropriate will also lessen pest problems. Typically your biggest problem plants/crops are those that are not indigenous to the region.

I agree 100% with your statement above, just curious where you "draw the line" in this regard.

That is difficult to say as each problem has it's own unique solution. I can say I do draw the line at flooding a system with a single species in the hope that it might do some good, all the while not having a clue what impact it will have on the system as a whole. I wouldn't consider 50 lady bugs, which are already part of the system, flooding. Trillions upon trillions of bacteria, nematodes, or any other microbial species that may or may not be a part of the system, well ...... I consider that treading on really thin ice.

We all too often jump without looking, hoping nothing will go wrong, thinking even if something did happen, it can't be worse than what we are already dealing with. It is sad how many times we have been wrong, and even sadder how we continue to ignore the lessons of the past.

Smallaxe
10-31-2008, 08:56 AM
Quackgrass, Canadian Thistle, European Sparrow, Dandelion, Asian Beetle, Purple Loosestrife... No problem... :laugh:

Genetic engineering!?!? These people are experts and can be trusted. E-coli and Lyme's disease were unknown when I was a kid.
It's a good thing we have an EPA with sound judgement and high moral character.

treegal1
10-31-2008, 10:49 AM
My thoughts

..... akin to giving a blind man a loaded gun on a shooting range
..... one hop, skip, and jump away from bio-engineered microbes

History is littered with disastrous examples of "good ideas" with regard to introduction of a species into an ecosystem for various reasons, be it pest control, food, or a cool looking plant. Stick with what nature can provide on it's own ... encourage a balanced ecosystem that is regionally appropriate and sustainable.giving pollution a life of its own