Capitol Hill Blue
Posted By: TatumAH A Fungus Amungus - 10/21/21 07:02 PM
I thought that since we have discussed the fungal problems in our gardens and bodies, that there should be a place to discuss fungi and their friends, cohorts, and competitors. Greger even facetiously, I think, suggested that the fungal overgrowth problems could be the result of Roundup/Glyphosate. He may even be right, it was bound to happen sometime grin
Welcome to A Fungus Amungus!
TAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/22/21 04:17 PM
Getting back to Fungi,
I was around in Medicine when the first anti-fungal antibiotics (except for Amphot-terrible) were being rolled out for clinical use. It was not long before resistant strains appeared. Some Swedish group was researching the resistance, and went outside to collect some native wild type fungi from their mulch to use as controls. They were very surprised to find that the supposedly naive outdoor fungi already had resistance to the recent antifungals.
This is now attributed to the widespread use of similar antifungals in agriculture. Fungi put out zillions of spores and its easy to spread resistance, that is now seen on all continents that have plants.

We have only been fighting fungal infections with antifungals for less than 50 years, and the fungi are evolving much faster than we can develop new antifungals. Given Fungi's billion year track record of fighting filamentous bacteria for dominance, I dont like our chances against resistant fungal infections in the future!
Add this to the rapid resistance of usual pathogenic bacteria and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and we are headed back into the pre-antibiotic era clinically.

What have we not FUBARED in our insane race for cheaper production methods in crops and meat?
TAT
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/22/21 05:29 PM
I just watched the latest TWIV on Youtube, and it includes a paper that shows EXACTLY how remdesivir works right down to the steric hindrance that occurs three nucleotides after the remdesivir is added to the RNA chain during replication. It even has a movie of that! It takes the place of an adenosine triphosphate, but has a huge triple-bonded nitrogen sticking out on the side, that collides with another part of the replication enzyme. It's like a zipper with a hunk of epoxy on one of the tracks. Stops replication dead in it's tracks. And they even suggest why it does not work 100% of the time!

This is the direct result of getting supercomputers that can work out physical models of very complex components of cells. Stuff like this makes me hopeful scientists will come up with new antivirals, antibiotics, and antifungals in the near future, as the slope of the biomedical singularity gets ever-steeper.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 01:15 AM
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It even has a movie of that! It takes the place of an adenosine triphosphate, but has a huge triple-bonded nitrogen sticking out on the side, that collides with another part of the replication enzyme.

Thats a stiff AZIDE, as long as were talkin durty! C triple bondage to Nitrogen! Packs a lota punch, them azides eek2

TAT!
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 01:18 AM
But beware the azholes, for they art deep as the Blue Sea!
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 01:35 AM
Getting back to fungi...
Triple dog dare escalation

I raise you a Triazole for your Aspergillus fumigatus!
Posted By: Ken Condon Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 01:37 AM
I’ll tell you one fungus I absolutely love, it’s miatake mushrooms. Sometimes known as “hen of the woods.” They are expensive pushing $20 a pound in the stores but I splurge for them on occasion. I just love their nutty woody flavor. As is with CBD oil miatake’s have all kinds of health benefits attributed to them. I am not sure if I believe all of that hype, but as I said, I do love their flavor.

I just sauté them in a little butter and olive oil with salt and pepper. They are delicious. Has anyone here ever found those out in the woods in the wild?
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 01:50 AM
I just harvested a puffball the size of a basket ball. Then I had to decide what to do with the huge specimen in the fridge. Made some puffball chips in the airfryer, but then decided to dehydrate slabs of it. It doesnt have a good mouth feel as they grow so fast, but has excellent schroomy taste. Ended up making the dehydrated slab into powder that is easy to store dry, and can be added to or dusted on anything you want to have some shcroominess in or dusted on. I did the same thing with the dried Porchini schrooms into a pepper grinder.

We do lots of the sulfur shelf schrooms, chicken of the woods. Cant mistaki them for anything toxic, and they feel like chicken!
Posted By: Ken Condon Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 02:25 AM
It’s my understanding that “chicken of the woods” and “hen of the woods” (miatake) are not the same thing. But I will defer to your expertise.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 02:33 AM
You are correct ding ding ding!
We eat both but you are correct chicken of the woods is a fall fungus sulfur shelf!
Love the hen of the woods too!
Chicken of the woods is also in the fridge. They have a nice bite feel, unless they are a little too old and they get woody but still tasty! wink
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 07:38 AM
I have some umami powder that is made from shiitake mushrooms. It makes a great addition to anything you want to add some more savory taste. Just used some tonight to jazz up some rather bland homemade cashew chicken.
Posted By: Greger Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 12:35 PM
I use a pound of mushrooms a week for the umami boost and the nutrients. Mushrooms are a superfood. I'd like to use fancier mushrooms but they don't grow here and as Ken said they can be pretty pricey. Creminis do everything a mushroom needs to do for me.
Posted By: Ken Condon Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/23/21 05:19 PM
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P.I.A …… This is the direct result of getting supercomputers that can work out physical models of very complex components …..
I know this is off-topic but I just discovered that the long time puzzle of deciphering how a protein folds has allegedly been solved. Or at least has been claimed to have been solved. Although it is still awaiting peer review.

What do you make of this PIA?

Link
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 04:12 AM
No, Not really solved by AI

This is real progress, but also quite a bit of hype and exaggeration!
TAT

No, DeepMind has not solved protein folding
Posted on December 2, 2020 by Stephen

This week DeepMind has announced that, using artificial intelligence (AI), it has solved the 50-year old problem of ‘protein folding’. The announcement was made as the results were released from the 14th and latest competition on the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP14). The competition pits teams of computational scientists against one another to see whose method is the best at predicting the structures of protein molecules – and DeepMind’s solution, ‘AlphaFold 2’, emerged as the clear winner.
201202-DeepMind-blog

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Should the experimentalist now all quit the lab and leave the field to Deep Mind?

No, they shouldn’t, for several reasons.

Firstly, there is no doubt that DeepMind have made a big step forward. Of all the teams competing against one another they are so far ahead of the pack that the other computational modellers may be thinking about giving up. But we are not yet at the point where we can say that protein folding is ‘solved’. For one thing, only two-thirds of DeepMind’s solutions were comparable to the experimentally determined structure of the protein. This is impressive but you have to bear in mind that they didn’t know exactly which two-thirds of their predictions were closest to correct until the comparison with experimental solutions was made.* Would you buy a satnav that was only 67% accurate?

So a dose of realism is required. It is also difficult to see right now, despite DeepMind’s impressive performance, that this will immediately transform biology.
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 09:34 AM
I agree: Supercomputers can only suggest possible solutions to such problems. They have to be verified with real wet-lab experiments. But just having some of those likely solutions is far better than assembling a stick & ball model of a protein and fiddling around with different folds!

Remember that different folds actually occur in vivo, and we call the really bad ones "prions".

AI can be very good at certain tasks, but it's current capabilities are way, way less sophisticated than most people imagine. For one thing, an AI can only learn about things it has "seen". That's why Tesla's autopilot drove right into a truck parked across the interstate. Even Deep Mind is just a very fast idiot. Not even as smart as a mouse.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 11:45 AM
Originally Posted by pondering_it_all
Even Deep Mind is just a very fast idiot. Not even as smart as a mouse.
Whoa, dude… I wouldn’t say that too loud. Deep Mind might want some retribution!
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What DM wants, DM gets…
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 12:13 PM
Are fungal mycelia actually the neural network of the soil?
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 03:08 PM
Let's begin with a couple of riddles.

What's bigger than a whale, yet hides out of sight? What could fill 250 semitrucks, yet spreads itself thin?

The answer lies in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon and it tries to kill whatever it touches.

But to see it, you have to know what to look for.

It's a fungus.

Oregons humongous fungus Giant myceliar network

Yes indeed most of the fungal world is invisable to us unless we look underground. I found a 8 ft mulch pile covered by oyster mushrooms last year. I attempted to transplant is to my yard, and while digging chunks of the colony out is was very clear that the entire pile was a dense mass of white mycelium holding the whole thing together. Obviously it had consumed whatever it was eating in the pile and was looking for a new food source by promiscuously sporulating.
Fungi come in all sorts of temperaments, some grow on dead material, like the oysters, some reach out and actually help the trees utilize nutrients that the tree cant mobilize and reward us with truffles and Porcini schroom, and some of the network communicate and deliver death threats as parasites to healthy trees, like the largest living organism in Oregon. This organism was developed by DARPA under the direction of James Watt and planted in strategic locations thousands of years ago by using the time machine also from DARPA.

Frankly I'm very surprised that those plant pathologists trying all those abatement tactics and stratergeries never mentioned testing sample of the fungus in the lab with fungicides. They may be afraid of generating a multidrug resistant fungus that gets pissed off and starts to spread much faster in its goal of world deforestation.

Maybe they are edible, they didnt mention if they tried eating them. Perhaps they taste like turpentine!
TAT
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 08:43 PM
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking the fruiting body (a mushroom) is most of the organism. It's really all about the mycelium. Mushrooms are just reproductive organs the mycelium sticks out there when conditions are right. It's pretty funny that many of them look like penises, but that's what they are!
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/24/21 09:36 PM
I dont believe you! I'm going to look it up on the google machine and prove you wrong! With tens of thousands of genders why would they chose that? Oh yeah, That!
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 12:00 AM
Originally Posted by pondering_it_all
It's really all about the mycelium.
You could say that the mycelium is the base for fungi. And as we all know, it's all about that base...

Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 01:48 AM
I think it needs a little something MOAR...
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 02:13 AM
Cowbelles?
Posted By: Ken Condon Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 01:14 PM
OK back to the topic. What do y’all make of morels? I know they are supposed to be the bomb but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten them.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 01:35 PM
I think they went out with ethics...

My bad! I've never tried them either.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 10/25/21 03:38 PM
poisonous look alikes

I found most of these toxic look alikes in a very moist early summer in Maine. There is always an impulse to think you recognize the high prized schroom like the King Bolete (porcinis) and the highly esteemed Yellow Morels, and there is the dangerous temptation to ignore small inconsistencies in identification when you think you have one of the prized ones. Unfortunately there are lots of False Morels, that I just regard as ImMorels. To the novice, they have a dangerous resemblance to the Yellow Morels. Morelity is easy to determine in mushrooms, but much harder in humans!

I collected quite a few specimens, after imaging their locations, both to find them again if they were edible, and also to determine if their growth site was appropriate for the identification. I actually never ate any of them, but many were cautiously tasted, which is one of the techniques involved in identification. This may sound dangerous but it is safe if instructions are carefully followed. A small sample, like the head of a match, is placed on the tip of the tongue to see first if it has a very caustic or disagreeable taste or sensation. If no bad reaction is detected the sample can then be chewed to determine more characteristics. NOTHING is swallowed, and the mouth is then rinsed with water several times and spit out.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/10/21 10:55 PM
Getting back to what's really important, it is decision time to try to figure out the best way to overwinter my veggie raised beds, with conflicting threats. Cucumber beetle crushed my cuke crop this and last year, and they reportedly lay their eggs there, and hope I replant a curcubit related crop so that their larvi can feast on the roots before they become adults and attack the plant stems, and inject a lethal bacteria that crumps the entire plant in a day or two.

I have been avoiding rototilling, after evaluating the no-till data. I dont want to disturb the soil biomes by churning them up, but I still want to get at the eggs waiting deeper in the soil below the freeze line, whatever that may be this year, it had to predict nowadays if we will have a good killing frost season.

I have for many years been using a scorched earth policy at the end of the growing season and removal of all surface plant matter. I use one of those handy dandy propane weed torches that connect to the standard BBQ propane tanks. I figure flame is a good way to destroy whatever bad fungal spores etc is on the surface, though probably offing some beneficial nematodes in the process, though the near surface one would probably freeze anyway.
The torch is also fun/exciting/satisfying for us pyros devil and has many other uses from edging the driveway to searing and crisping raw appearing fat on a sous vide steak! When curious neighbors observe this. I explain, while their dog is looking for a place to relieve itself on my lawn, that I avoid all herbidices because pets lick their feet and get much larger doses of herbicides than the humans get. They seem to appreciate this and favor my lawn as it's more pet friendly than other neighbors with suspiciously weedless lawns without my very prominent diverse floral "lawn". More importantly they invite me over to scorch their weeds when the dandelions are in puffball seeding phase, and my lawn has very few.
I will rotate crops anyway, but I only have 7 4x8' beds. I'm planning on surrounding my cuke plants with sacrificial zucchini plants as I dont like zuks anyway. I dont hate them they just aren't worth my effort, as many folks are trying to give their extras away. Maybe I would like them with more MSG. I'm naturally hesitant to encourage cuke beetles with more food.

They and the fungi won this year, but I will be back next year, fully armed with my proprietary compost tea, that provides a biofilm on leaves and stems and into the soil, and may help by filling the fungal niche with beneficial fungi. If you cant beat them, join them amungus!
MOAR FUNGUS LATER!!!

TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 01:05 AM
So where's biochar in your arsenal?
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 02:14 AM
Undecided!
TAT

Biochar, is there a dark side?

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The less popular drawbacks

Unfortunately for each of the listed benefits above, a counterargument or drawback has been found:
- In some cases, yields may decline because of the sorption of water and nutrients by the biochar, which reduces the availability of these resources for the crops. Biochar has also been shown to inhibit germination.
- The sorption of pesticides and herbicides by the biochar can reduce their efficacy.
- Some biochars can act as a source of contaminants, such as heavy metals, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), and DOC (Dissolved Organic Carbon).
- The reduction in nitrous oxide emissions is not universal and emissions even increase sometimes.
- The fine ash associated with biochar is the perfect source for dust, posing a risk for respiratory diseases.
- Long-​term removal of crop residues, like stems, leaves and seed pods, to be used for production of biochar can reduce overall soil health by diminishing the number of soil microorganisms and disrupting internal nutrient cycling.
- The increase in cation exchange capacity depends on the composition of the soil: it is minimal in soils with high clay or organic matter content, especially at realistic rates of biochar additions.
- In high pH (alkaline) soils, an increase in soil pH is not desirable as crops only tolerate a certain range of soil pH.
What’s next?

We hope that the above listing has convinced you that, yes, biochar might have some potential, but let’s be cautious. Before proceeding with the promotion of biochar as a soil improving amendment some things need to be figured out:
- Most studies have been done under laboratory conditions and in the short-​term (< 2 years). Hence, long-​term field trials of biochar additions need to be conducted.
- There is a broad spectrum of biochars and a lack of standardization among the currently available biochars, leading, in part, to the divergent effects. Hence, a rigorous definition and standardization of what a good biochar is, needs to be established.
- Since there are many benefits and drawbacks associated with different biochars, thorough trade-​off analyses are necessary. For example, to which soil and/or crop should we add which biochar? Do we want to produce biochar purely for biochar without the additional benefit of energy production?
- It is very pertinent to assess the economic and logistical feasibility of biochar applications at larger scales under field conditions.

Currently, many researchers are starting to address these issues and are working towards drafting recommendations for the use of biochar. The overall goal is to ensure that farmers get the most out of the potential benefits of biochar while avoiding the many potential drawbacks. Only when all of this has been figured out, will we know to what degree biochar really is beneficial. Currently, it is looking like the claims of its benefits have been exaggerated
.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 02:41 AM
biofungicides
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Some of the most common biofungicides include:

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens
Bacillus subtilis
Trichoderma harzianum
Streptomyces lydicus

Biofungicides are often applied as a biological control within an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

I used Streptomyces lydicus, (Actinovate) the last time fungi were getting the upper hand. It worked and I used it along with compost tea until the problem was controlled. Then I slacked off using it, and that and climate change allowed Fusarium and others to rear their ugly heads again. Streptomyces species have been battling fungi in compost forever. I am considering all of the above organisms. I do worry about what will happen in my composting when these get into it. Luckily, they actually seemed to work out a cooperative stratergery in the piles taking turns as the pile composts. Many of these bugs have been developed and tested in the nearby Cornell Ag school labs, and they are scientifically reliable!
The various organisms work in interesting different ways and likely will work even better in combinations, or they could just kill everything starting a fungal pandemic that the neighbors will blame on me grin

TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by TatumAH
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- In some cases, yields may decline because of the sorption of water and nutrients by the biochar, which reduces the availability of these resources for the crops. Biochar has also been shown to inhibit germination.
Biochar should not be used "raw", i.e. without 'charging" with nutrients and microbiology from compost blending. Everybody in the biz knows this. Added to composting processes it enhances function and adsorbs nitrogen, which is normally off-gassed.
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- The sorption of pesticides and herbicides by the biochar can reduce their efficacy.
What kind of moron continues to use pesticides and herbicides? They are environmental poisons - adsorption by biochar is not a drawback!
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- Some biochars can act as a source of contaminants, such as heavy metals, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), and DOC (Dissolved Organic Carbon).
Yeah, so what kind of moron uses contaminated feedstocks? Besides, properly pyrolyzed biomass (500+ degrees C) will break down any organic compounds.
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- The reduction in nitrous oxide emissions is not universal and emissions even increase sometimes.
That's why we have a hybrid biochar+energy system, one that burns the syngas for energy in optimized combustion conditions.
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- The fine ash associated with biochar is the perfect source for dust, posing a risk for respiratory diseases.
Fine ash is only produced under sub-optimal production conditions, We water quench the char, so it is not dry and there is no dust.
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- Long-​term removal of crop residues, like stems, leaves and seed pods, to be used for production of biochar can reduce overall soil health by diminishing the number of soil microorganisms and disrupting internal nutrient cycling.
We combine our biochar with a mature, fungal dominant compost made from crop residues.
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- The increase in cation exchange capacity depends on the composition of the soil: it is minimal in soils with high clay or organic matter content, especially at realistic rates of biochar additions.
Is this a drawback? Or is it just a condition of variability?
Quote
- In high pH (alkaline) soils, an increase in soil pH is not desirable as crops only tolerate a certain range of soil pH.
High pH is largely a function of poorly managed production process and avoidable ash content. We sometimes adjust the pH of our chars by simply adding acidic pecan shell fines to the blend.

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We hope that the above listing has convinced you that, yes, biochar might have some potential, but let’s be cautious. Before proceeding with the promotion of biochar as a soil improving amendment some things need to be figured out:
Who is "We"?
Quote
- Most studies have been done under laboratory conditions and in the short-​term (< 2 years). Hence, long-​term field trials of biochar additions need to be conducted.
- There is a broad spectrum of biochars and a lack of standardization among the currently available biochars, leading, in part, to the divergent effects. Hence, a rigorous definition and standardization of what a good biochar is, needs to be established.
- Since there are many benefits and drawbacks associated with different biochars, thorough trade-​off analyses are necessary. For example, to which soil and/or crop should we add which biochar? Do we want to produce biochar purely for biochar without the additional benefit of energy production?
- It is very pertinent to assess the economic and logistical feasibility of biochar applications at larger scales under field conditions.

Currently, many researchers are starting to address these issues and are working towards drafting recommendations for the use of biochar. The overall goal is to ensure that farmers get the most out of the potential benefits of biochar while avoiding the many potential drawbacks. Only when all of this has been figured out, will we know to what degree biochar really is beneficial. Currently, it is looking like the claims of its benefits have been exaggerated.
This is being done. Apparently "We" is out of the loop and about 6 years behind the research and development, but nonetheless an authority.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 03:06 AM
AHA! I just opened the link and see that the quoted article was written in 2014 - so I was wrong, it is seven years behind the R&D!
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 03:12 AM
Got the latest state of the Art on BIOCHAR lynx? just out of curriosity?
Made you look, made you look! grin
TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 12:23 PM
Fair warning - we buried my wife’s father in a shallow grave (down at the Old Chinese Gardens farm) partially filled with biochar and fungally dominant compost. There will be no trace of him in a few years… (FWIW I wanted to pyrolyze him)

International Biochar Initiative
Posted By: Greger Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/11/21 03:46 PM
Quote
long-​term field trials of biochar additions need to be conducted.

Trials have been underway in the Amazonian Dark Earth patches for over 4000 years. There is some evidence that it was not anthropomorphic but exogenic and that the deposits of pyrogenic nutrients was natural.

But regardless of how the charcoal entered the soil the 5-10 fold increase in nutrients in relation to biochar, regardless of its provenance, has stood the test of centuries.
A New Hypothesis for the Origins of Amazonian Dark Earths
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/12/21 03:18 AM
Thanks Greger,
But tt took quite a while to digest that article on Amazon Dark Earth ADE analysis, after having my eyes dilated by eye doc to see if cataracts were progressing which they dont seem to be over 6 months. It looks convincing that the larger ADEs may have been produced by the geology with biochar from forest fires and then flooding that left deep deposits of biochar. These areas with high fertility were clearly recognized by natives who took advantage of the ADE sites for farming and populated them leaving artifacts. The artifacts suggested originally that the ADE were man made, rather than a natural formation. I was surprised to see how thick the ADE soils were, but that can also happen from long term habitation. Their data do not support a man made deposition.
I have been reading about the use of biochar in more arid regions where it helps to retain water and facilitate regrowth of plants after drought, not the same problem as the amazon.
I also read about anaerobic sterilization of soil, in my attempt to outwit fungi, who seem very smart by long term experience. They till the soil and a a whole lot of green carbon sources, grass etc, or a heavy dose of molasses.Then they drown the area with water to fill the air space, till it puddles and then cover the area with tarps to exclude oxygen for anaerobic fermentation that asphyxiates all the aerobic flora including fungi. They say that you can tell it's working by the pronounced anaerobic aroma. Thats when I lost interest in trying it in the home garden, in spite of the fact that the garden is downwind from at least my house! grin

Im going to try a layer of shredded leaves, as usual, on my beds for the winter, but this year Im going to try to biochar them in place. Our town does not allow burning leaves, but this isnt traditional burning, and actually help the CO2 problem. They havent come to take me away before when I torch weeds generating some smoke. The kids used to tell their mother that Dad is it out smoking the weeds again! crazy It is good cover for smoke residues.
I figure I will torch the leaves to get them going and they reduce their air access and smolder into finely divided biochar-oids. I figure that it couldnt hurt the soil, but its right next to the house and garage, so I will have a hose ready in case the wind changes. I should leave at least one bed unbiochared as a control. My garden always has some growth experiment going on. Time will tell!

TAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/12/21 03:24 AM
Originally Posted by logtroll
Fair warning - we buried my wife’s father in a shallow grave (down at the Old Chinese Gardens farm) partially filled with biochar and fungally dominant compost. There will be no trace of him in a few years… (FWIW I wanted to pyrolyze him)

International Biochar Initiative

I read that link on fungal rich slow compost, but as I'm tying to repel bad fungi rather than eliminate the bodies of relatives, Im not sure fungal rich compost is for my beds. Plus it takes a while and some construction. Maybe next year
TAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/12/21 03:13 PM
The raised bed "solutions" are suddenly on hold due to the torrential rain we had last night, unless I want to go out and get enough molasses and tarps to try the anaerobic fermentation sterilization on the already water saturated soil!

TAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/12/21 04:42 PM
Kiln for leaf conversion to biochar

This looks promising and pretty easy to do. I may go street shopping for stupidly bagged leaves to fuel it!
TAT

Moar biochar DIY info
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/14/21 02:57 AM
My friend has wooded property and harvests wood for heat and remodeling woodlands. He burns a pile of leftovers every year. His piles are around 20 ft in diameter and 15 or more feet high, and usually starts them from the bottom. I have been considering if his "ash" piles contain usable biochar. Here is his description of his fires and remains.

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. Indeed the soil under my burn pile is devoid of all life. Even the rabbits don't make their burrows there, and there is no living green. If you saw the pile now, just a month after I burned the former one, you would understand why. Actually also, I remove the ashes after the burn. This year there was fire in the pile for three weeks, even after big rains. No smoke, but when I tried to move the ashes, they sparked and smoked and would have started a forest fire. So if you want to see the results of ashes, I have this year's result in its own place, and the removed ashes for 10 years before in another place.

I will be going out to visit him and will take my portable pH meter, conductivity meter, and potassium specific electrode meter to determine what the material is and what has happened to the surrounding soils. Do you think a large 3 week smoldering pile remnants contain Biochar mixed with ashes? Any suggestions about separating ash from biochar? I suspect ashes would float, so I will do a WILL IT FLOAT experiment if I can find my angle grinder and body armor.

It may be possible look at 10 years of strata in his old ash heap. I will question him about pressure treated lumber in the burns, but I already have an arsenic assay I used to test PT wood before disposal. Nobody will take PT wood away without an assay. Lead assay kits are everywhere now for testing paint before sanding.

TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/14/21 03:21 AM
If he lights the piles from the top there will be less smoke, less ashes, more biochar, and less damage to the soil.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/14/21 03:31 PM
That's exactly what I told him and even provided links confirming it. He asked me if I had ever tried to light a large pile of green vegetation from the top. I admitted that I had not, and suggested that he let the pile dry out over the winter and burn it from the top in the spring, and I looked forward to help with the ignition. He is tantalized by the Amazon Dark Earth article we have been sharing. He has a large solar panel array on his barn and an advanced heat exchange heating and cooling system using his nearby large pond. Stay tuned.

I found this article and series of comments on using ash in the garden. It is interesting that many of the comments back in 2012 or so and later are dismissive of "global warming" and the main defense of open pile burning was that burning vegetation is carbon neutral and "natures" way. Mainly they are discussing potassium in ash, which should have already leached out of his ash piles in the rain.

TAT

K my ash in the Vegetable Garden rolleyes
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/14/21 03:53 PM
If the person in the link had holes near the top of his incinerator instead of at the bottom, the device would make a good deal of biochar, as well.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/14/21 05:39 PM
Confronted with large piles of wood burning heterogeneous material, methods of harvesting biochar from such mixtures were sought. It looks like fluidized beds in air can be used to essentially "pan" black gold out of wood ash residues.
What could go worng with columns of ash residues and high velocity air?
grin hitsfan

TAT


Biochar from wood ash residues

Quote
Wood ash residues are a complex ternary mixture of small stones, biochar particles and ash. The present application shows how a combination of physical separation processes can be applied to the efficient extraction of a biochar-rich fraction. Two different techniques were tested: segregation and elutriation. The effects of the fluidization velocity on both of the processes were investigated respectively. Either tech nique happened to be ineffective, on its own, to obtain high purity biochar. However, a combination of segregation and elutriation proved to recover 78% of the biochar with a purity of 90%.

Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to harvesting found treasures, so you just have to make do. In the slightly paraphrased words of CSNY:
If you can't be with the Ash you love, Love the Ash you're with! grin

RETAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/28/21 05:37 AM
maple fungus epidemic

Maple tree malady won’t dim vivid fall colors

They wont let me copy text from the link, but this is the fungus that dropped all our Noway maple leaves months early. It didnt touch the Silver maple. It depressing to drive around the area and see so many bare trees way to early. They got mowed in as they dropped, so I dont have a front yard source for shredding into mulch and then into compost. I never ran out of leaves before. The article blames the moist early summer. My garden tender didnt need to water anything for the 10 days we were in Maine July 18-28!

I think I already have fungal rich compost forming everywhere already!

Now there is a Maple Syrup shortage as this fungus like Sugar Maples too. They have not specifically blamed much of the shortage on weak trees without leaves. I hope its not back next year, but they say it doesnt harm the tree much, but several years of that in a row with this severity infected trees cant be good for them.
I'm Probably not going to get too much sympathy for my Pray For Dry campaign!

TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 11/28/21 01:25 PM
Originally Posted by TatumAH
I read that link on fungal rich slow compost, but as I'm tying to repel bad fungi rather than eliminate the bodies of relatives, Im not sure fungal rich compost is for my beds.
There is an interesting question in your situation - how to sort the fungus from the downergus, and if it is a concern. I have not seen any discussion on that amongst the eggheads I follow. A peeled eye 👁 is needed.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/07/21 01:54 PM
I’ve mentioned a book a few times - Finding the Mother Tree - about a researcher from British Columbia who took on studying soil biology in response to an industry policy called “free to grow”, which sought to eliminate the competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight in tree plantations following clearcuts. Her instinct, having grown up in the BC forests and eating dirt as a child, was that a forest ecosystem is collaborative and not competitive, meaning that reducing competition would also reduce productivity and be destructive to the ecosystem. The story is a bit of a biography, pretty heavy to science and research, and a love story for anyone with an attraction to fungi, as well as a political thriller.

I’m about halfway through and am seeing all kinds of examples and parallels to human interactions that are supportive of my “instincts” about how we should behave in our brief time alive - a natural blend of socio-capitalism that we should adapt and adopt for the human organism population.
Posted By: Ken Condon Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/07/21 03:58 PM
Yes and that author gal grew up in a generational logging family. She got her PhD at Oregon state university in good old Corvallis by the way. When she first proposed the theory that trees could be interconnected through their root etc. systems it was first greeted as some New Age hocus-pocus. It is now generally accepted as being true.

By the way the movie Avatar made references to it.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/07/21 04:29 PM
I have been rooting around the role of various fungi in compost preps to help me figure out what I should use in my veggie garden that is currently under fungal attack. I was most interested in the mycorrhizae

They come in several flavors Endos and Exos, some are specific to particular plants while others are fairly non-specific. Spores may hang around in compost, but dont grow until exposed to tantalizing roots.

I am considering seeding one of my experimental compost piles to possibly enrich the compost with mycorrhizae. I'm not sure I want to seed my raised beds with perennial grass seeds, but maybe a annual rye, clover or maybe something edible, but NOT chives. Seeding the compost pile would also provide data about presence of stray herbicides, maturation of the compost, and the presence of the fungus that causes damping off.

Fungus vs Bumgus remains a problem, and many suggest that just keeping the soil healthy promotes mainly the Fungus and inhibits the Bumgus.

The book just arrived in Tablet format, so more comments will be forthcoming.

TAT
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/08/21 03:56 PM
I have been reading the Mother Tree book, and it flashes me back to one of our Boy Scout projects in the 60s. We spent many weekend days replanting the Oregon Tillamook Burn area in the Coastal Range. About a million Douglas Fir seedlings were planted by various amateur groups, and I figure I must have done 1000 or so. Time dims the details. The overall effort included 72 million seedlings hand planted. The Tillamook burn areas didnt have the same problems as this books area. First, water in the Coastal range was not in short supply in rain-forests, back then anyway. Second, glyphosate, roundup wasnt available to help until 1974. Third, only part of the area was clearcut, and the rest was just burned.
Reforestation of newly burned areas will be much difficult, if possible, due to climate change.
It has now been designated as a protected State forest, at least until it become a "working forest" again, meaning loggable.

I'm already planning on mining the natural compost from the back yard hillside to rehabiliTaT the beds I have to lie in.
TAT
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/11/21 12:41 AM
Originally Posted by TatumAH
Reforestation of newly burned areas will be much difficult, if possible, due to climate change.
I gave some J-Su compost fortified biochar to a couple of researchers from UNM and AZ State to dip the roots of pine seedlings in that were planted at the Las Conchas burn near Los Alamos. The interest was in improved soil moisture behavior for a better survival rate. It's too early for data at this time.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/11/21 06:22 PM
[uote=logtroll]
Originally Posted by TatumAH
Reforestation of newly burned areas will be much difficult, if possible, due to climate change.
I gave some J-Su compost fortified biochar to a couple of researchers from UNM and AZ State to dip the roots of pine seedlings in that were planted at the Las Conchas burn near Los Alamos. The interest was in improved soil moisture behavior for a better survival rate. It's too early for data at this time.[/quote]

J-Su, Joy of Man's Desiring Compost,
fungal rich, blessed with BioChar! grin

God took away our all of our snow last night, so It's bach to yardwork making hay while the sun shines. 60 degrees here today with an unusual strong wind from the East, opposite of the usual West wind. Anyone else noticing unusual weather? I'll take this anytime, but it showed the weakness of mailbox to forces from the East. Nothing that a little sackrete wont fix, and I just happen to have some leftovers from slab repair and was wondering what to do with anyway. The strong wind is really helping the mailbox post leveling procedure! mad

Quote
The interest was in improved soil moisture behavior for a better survival rate. It's too early for data at this time

One has to be very impressed with the patience and diligence it took for the well controlled forestry research from Mother Tree! Progress was painfully slow, but so rewarding in the end.

The favorable weather is allowing a miniature downward burning stovepipe Biochar experiment later today.

TAT
Posted By: Greger Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/11/21 09:43 PM
Quote
Anyone else noticing unusual weather?

It's hot as feck here.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/11/21 11:10 PM
Yep, and that literal hot air from Florida is driving tornadoes to the North.
And we thought Florida was just a health and political threat! eek

TAT
Posted By: Greger Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/11/21 11:14 PM
Only the political hot air actually originates here, the rest, like most of the occupants, are just passing through.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/17/21 03:48 PM
Got back from the Cleveland trip yesterday evening. The travel part was grueling and I often thought about the expense, both in time&money and environmental impacts - the question "couldn't it be done by Zoom?", bouncing around in the branebox as a possibly preferred alternative.

Up at 2 AM, on the road to ABQ at 3:30 to the airport, begin masking upon entry to Sunport, the security gauntlet, the boarding c..f..k, packed like sardines for a 3 hour cruise (ala Gilligan's Island), deplane in chaos in Chicago for a three hour layover and a $75 lunch for two (a beer and fish&chips), c..f..k onto another plane packing in like tinned oysters, and one more stampede to exit the tin - a woman attempted to block my quick exit (sans the need to block the aisle since I didn't have a carryon in the overhead bins) whining loudly that I was taking her turn (I guess she desperately needed me to wait behind her in line while she fumbled for her belongings, thereby honoring some Karen code of fairness). She was still whining while getting out of her seat even though I was ten feet away headed for the exit door. (The voice of Tatoo echoing in my mind, "De plane! De plane!")

The folks at Rid-All Green Partnership (it was started by a guy with a 'green' pest extermination business, in case you wondered like I had) very courteously sent a car to take us to our hotel. Via text message with Keymah (the executive director), Marcus would be outside in the pick-up area in 15 minutes in "a black Cadillac". I relayed the info to my colleague Mike, who asked what I was thinking, "I wonder what a black Cadillac looks like these days?" Fifteen minutes later a black Cadillac hatchback (not what I expected) pulled up in front of us. Mike went the back door and opened it with a friendly greeting and a voice from inside said indignantly, "Hey, this ain't an Uber, man!" A few minutes later a Cadillac sedan pulled up that was the right one. We were astounded that there were two black Cadillacs in Cleveland, when our town doesn't even have one!

Marcus drove us to the hotel while we carried on a nonstop conversation getting to know each other better, which raised my expectations for the visit considerably. After getting into our rooms, Mike called an old friend (since 2 years old) who came and got us to take to dinner and beers in his nearby town of Chagrin, OH. Mike grew up in New York, a couple of hundred miles away. We decided to rough it by taking the stairs down from the lofty second floor, accessed fifteen minutes earlier by the elevator. Much to our mutual chagrin, both being longtime woodsmen of wide experience, we quickly became lost in the labyrinthine bowels of Hotel Indigo (about 10 minutes later we discovered that the lobby had been relocated by an unknown evil force during our explorations).There was a lively several hours with Mike and his old buddy (a lawyer in the insurance field), them spilling stories from their youth while Alice (his new wife) and I poked fun at them. The day ended back at the hotel around 10:00.

Day 2 was all Rid-All, starting with a tour of their greenhouse facilities and the 'fish house' (a large industrial building with 8 large round tanks raising tilapia and another species I forget.) As it happens, I once had a connection with the aquaculture operation where they get their broodstock, which is a bit south of where I live in the not-really-a-town of Animas, NM. There is a major geothermal feature there where someone had built a large complex of greenhouses back in the 70's to grow roses for the international market, using the natural hot water to keep the greenhouses warm in the winter. Not wanting to avoid any possible tangent for this post to wander off on, I worked for 3 years during high school at a greenhouse operation in Boise (a florist business - the old man who owned it was a famous - in certain circles - breeder of orchids) that was heated by an artesian geothermal well.

Back to Animas, the rose business shrank and several acres of greenhouse went looking for new occupants, one of which turned out to be an aquaculture venture raising talapia broodstock. Someone with a fertile imagination might speculate that I had met the great great great great.... grandparents of the very fish now growing up in Cleveland! It was a precious moment.

Since I need to get on with my day, I'll leave more of our adventure for another post. But as you can already see, the idea of a Zoom call being a sufficient substitute for achieving the desired objectives is a distant concept.
Posted By: jgw Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/17/21 07:20 PM
I prefer google meet. Seems easier somehow.

Just saying............
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/19/21 02:23 PM
One of the big finds of the Rid-All day was in their 'show' greenhouse (they are actually more an educational operation than a food producer - they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 visitors last year, most of them schoolkids), which was kind of on the hippie side, complete with a rustic table and chairs in the middle of a tropical paradise (made me want a Corona...). The main feature was a pair of combo fish tanks/hydroponic plant 'bunkbeds'.

The bottom bunks were lumber framed tanks of about 3'x12'x3' deep dimensions, lined with pond liner material - that's where the aquaponics happens. The top bunks were shallow lined tanks set on a slight slope from one end to the other where potted plants were set. The fish water was pumped up into the top bunk where it flowed around the pots, which had their toes in it via the 'potholes', giving the pot residents a continuous supply of nutrient rich water to feed on. At the low end the water drained back down into the fish tank, passing through a filter first (a simple box filled with media that can be easily changed periodically). Once they are making biochar, the filter media will be carbon. When the filter is refreshed the enriched biochar will go into the compost process, or maybe used as-is.

This design is a much better idea for our operation as we only have one greenhouse and it isn't all that large, as greenhouses go (18'x32'). I was anticipating using round tanks, which would have taken up 25% of our space for 24 square feet of tank area, but with the bunkbed concept we can do bunkbeds for 32' down each side (192 square feet of tank) without losing any plant growing space. It also expands the possibilities for experimentation. Our operations at The Old Chinese Gardens are also heavily focused on community involvement and education.
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/21/21 11:36 PM
Aquaponics tends to work much better if you rarely harvest fish, and grow stuff like lettuce that does not need the nutrients that promote blooming and fruiting. Like lettuces, for example. Fish do not do well in water that has enough potassium and phosphorous to make plants mature. The one economically-feasible operation I know of was growing specialty lettuces for fancy restaurants in Hawaii.

We actually went to Epcot to see their "aquaculture facility" when my wife was studying fish pathology at Purdue, and got the "straight poop" from one of the Disney techs. It was all theater, with fish bought commercially when others died. The fish served in their attached restaurant were all Alaskan pollack. That was before people started raising tilapia for human consumption. They were still "trash fish" in Hawaiian cane and pineapple field irrigation ditches. The local cats would not even eat them.
Posted By: logtroll Re: A Fungus Amungus - 12/22/21 01:00 AM
While we are intending to utilize the 'fish poop water' fertilizer, the plant growing system is not true hydroponics. The technique is to place plants potted in soil in the shallow flow of the aquaponics water allowing the plant roots to be watered from below but not submerged - the plants will not be gaining all of their nutrition from the water, and the fish (actually our intended species is shrimp) will not be much impacted by plant nutrients.

Plants for combining with aquaponics.

Of course it is an experiment for us, and we expect to learn as we go.
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