• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

High brix - low/no pest connection?  RSS feed

 
                          
Posts: 43
Location: Ozarks
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For those of you who have read books such as Science in Agriculture, is it true that high-brix plants will not get attacked by pests? It seems to me that a plant that is high-brix will simply be tastier.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So a brix test is looking for concentration of sugar in liquid.  So sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis.  All other factors being equal, a plan with high brix is making more food -- no limiting factor -- all the necessary components in a very large complex chain of biochemical transactions are present are humming along.  Also... it may not be the sugar... the sugar may just be an indicator of the state of the plant, and there are other factors present that reduce pest vulnerability.  All just theory.. but a brix test is just another tool for peeking into a very complex internal ecology.
 
                          
Posts: 43
Location: Ozarks
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, basically, a healthier plant will recover better from insects, but not necessarily not get eaten.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is much research suggesting that insects can identify and target unhealthy plants on a flyby.  I have read for example, that Mt Pine Beetle shows a preference for targeting pine trees with root damage for its egg laying.  Now whether a brix test would detect that damage is another question altogether. 

So conceptually you might say something like:

Species resistance + breeding effects + individual genotype + history + growing conditions + climate/weather = pest vulnerability

And then you might propose:  Brix test = history + growing conditions + individual genotype

However you can likely guess that there are potential holes all over this proposition.  So the more precise question might be: "Under what circumstance and among what species does a brix test serve as an indicator of pest resistance?"

"If the solution contains dissolved solids other than pure sucrose, such as other sugars, minerals etc., then the °Bx only approximate the dissolved solid content." - Wikipedia

Another way to look at might be that a brix test just adds to our senses... like super-beetle-smell, but ultimately we are still using intuition to make decisions, because the system we are observing is so complicated.

Here is an abstract from a study of one species (sugar cane) and one pest (top borer) and a full suite of indicators (leaf thickness, moisture content, nutrient content, fats, carbos, etc..) all showing a relationship, but the Brix test appears to be most reliable predictor in combination with fiber content and other indicators (for this species and pest).

The observations on leaf thickness 0.735* and moisture contents 0.771* showed positive and significant correlation with the pest infestation at tillering stage. Total minerals, manganese and copper contents did not show significant correlation with the pest infestation, whereas nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium and ferrous contents manifested positive and significant correlation with the pest infestation. Phosphorous, carbohydrates, fats and zinc produced significant and adverse effect on the pest infestation at tillering stage. Zinc contents with contrasting behaviors appeared to be the most important character with co-efficient value of 0.764 followed by ferrous with positive sign. The effect of borer infestation was significantly negative on pol (sucrose), Brix contents (total soluble solids), and CCS (commercial cane sugar). The coefficient of determination value was 0.821, obtained by computing fiber content, pol, Brix and CCS factors together for multivariate regression models.

 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
HeritageFarm wrote:
For those of you who have read books such as Science in Agriculture, is it true that high-brix plants will not get attacked by pests? It seems to me that a plant that is high-brix will simply be tastier.


I think there's a strong connection between health, taste, vigor, and stress in plants from my own personal observations. The healthiest plants, I noticed, often tasted the best and resisted pests and disease as well, such as with my broccoli and red cabbages last year. I hadn't planned it right with companion planting (with nasturtiums, marigolds, etc.), so my broccoli, cabbages, kohlrabi, etc. got swarmed with aphids, so much so that some of the plants were practically covered from stem to flower head in them, but the largest and strongest ones (which later I found were the tastiest) were able to shrug off the assaults and even extreme variations in weather and temperature such as cold snaps and heat waves. Also, my tomatoes which I stressed by burying them deeper as transplants and watering much less frequently (every 2-3 weeks) took longer to produce, but produced more heavily and much sweeter fruits in the season after they adapted. Early fruits were light red and insipid. Later fruits were 2-3 times the size, sweet and tart, dark, ruby red, and full of tomato flavor. I had also been fortifying the soil with compost teas and such later on in the growing season. They also had no disease and pest problems despite my neighbors complaining about pests.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Correlation is not causation. Depending on how they were studied it could be that plants that do not get attacked by pests will end up with higher brix.
 
                              
Posts: 123
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ive read plants stressed for water are more nutritious for aphids.
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:
Correlation is not causation. Depending on how they were studied it could be that plants that do not get attacked by pests will end up with higher brix.


Of course. Demonstration and explanation of the mechanics or reason behind the phenomenon for the results is the best. Correlation often gives a hint, though, that something *might* be going on.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A soil with ample concentrations of minerals & trace minerals will also produce a healthier plant, and a higher Brix.  Have you ever noticed that the insects attack the weakest plant in the garden?  A sick plant emits an Electrical Magnetic Field (EMF) which is different than that of a healthy plant.  Insects zero in on that EMF when seeking food.  Think of it as Mother Nature's way of culling the weakest plants.  If weak plants are destroyed, the gene pool is improved.  Survival of the fittest.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a biologist I can say that that story does not resemble evolution as the scientific community understands it. A weak plant that cheated would pass on its 'cheat when you are weak' genes and out compete the 'get eaten when you are weak' plants. I also have never heard the EMF story you are telling, do you have a source for it?

I'm saying that bugs eating your weakest plants could be a lot like finding your keys in the last place you look.
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
RustysDog wrote:
A soil with ample concentrations of minerals & trace minerals will also produce a healthier plant, and a higher Brix.  Have you ever noticed that the insects attack the weakest plant in the garden?  A sick plant emits an Electrical Magnetic Field (EMF) which is different than that of a healthy plant.  Insects zero in on that EMF when seeking food.  Think of it as Mother Nature's way of culling the weakest plants.  If weak plants are destroyed, the gene pool is improved.  Survival of the fittest.



IMO, it's little to do with EMFs and much to do with the sick plant unintentionally saying to pests, "I'm an easy target, so please eat me."
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In 1985 plant pathologist Francis Chaboussou published a book called "Healthy Plants, A New Agricultural
Revolution" in which he discussed how a pest starves on a healthy plant.... the Trophobiosis Theory

Essentially this theory is that pests will shun a healthy plant......our modern pesticides weaken plants.... these weakened plants invite pests and disease......hence pesticides encourage pest attack and disease susceptibility, further inducing a cycle of increased pesticide use.

Trophobiosis is derived from two Greek roots - trophikos (nourishment) and biosis (life): “the relationships between plant and parasite are primarily nutritional”

According to the trophobiosis theory, it is nutrient deficiencies and imbalances that lead to pest and disease outbreaks, and that synthetic pesticides and fertilisers can cause such deficiencies and imbalances.

The trophobiosis theory has been summed up by Dr. Ulrich Loening of the University of Edinburgh as follows: “most pest and disease organisms depend for their growth on free amino acids, and reducing sugars in solution in the plant’s cell sap. Every farmer has experienced the increase in diseases after heavy fertilisation with nitrogen; the
Green revolution varieties are good examples in which rich fertilisation creates susceptibility to pests, requiring more pesticides to control. Chaboussou explains why. Almost all conventional chemical agricultural technologies create favourable conditions for the growth of pest and disease organisms … the susceptibility of the crop is increased: when offered free nutrients, pests grow better and multiply faster. In this sense therefore, agro-chemicals and poisons cause pests and diseases” (2004, p. x, xi).

Under Chaboussou’s theory, an excess, within the plant, of less complex biochemical molecules, such as amino acids (rather than proteins that they build to) and/or simpler (reducing) sugars such as glucose (rather than the more complex carbohydrates such as glucose polymers - starches - and other polysaccharides) offers an attractive milieu for pests and disease.

http://dspace.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/48008/1/TrophobiosisJBAA.pdf
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It may be worth noting that superaccumulators are weaker, less vigorous plants as a rule when compared to their non-accumulator cousins, and they tend to have less predation. This bucks the trend mentioned in the work of Francis Chaboussou.
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chelle Lewis wrote:
In 1985 plant pathologist Francis Chaboussou published a book called "Healthy Plants, A New Agricultural
Revolution" in which he discussed how a pest starves on a healthy plant.... the Trophobiosis Theory

Essentially this theory is that pests will shun a healthy plant......our modern pesticides weaken plants.... these weakened plants invite pests and disease......hence pesticides encourage pest attack and disease susceptibility, further inducing a cycle of increased pesticide use.
...



I think the story is a bit more complicated and a bit more simple than that. Pesticides are involved yes, in that they allow weakened or susceptible plants and varieties to survive and thrive in situations and against pests and diseases that they otherwise wouldn't, but other factors, such as the heavy use of chemical fertilizers, imbalance of nutrients, breeding and less vigorous varieties being developed, cultivated, and favored, and monomaniacal focus on yields, monoculture, inbreeding/cloning, etc. play large roles to increase susceptibility, lack of vigor or hardiness, and adaptability.

From my past work, I became familiar with some plant protective chemicals like resveratrol, tannins, and certain antioxidants and vitamins. Resveratrol, for example, commonly found in grapes, is an anti-fungal (and interestingly enough, an anti-cancer agent). However, different varietals of grapes have and express different levels and concentrations of resveratrol under different circumstances and growing conditions, fertilizers and soils, stress, etc. It's highly modifiable and variable.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
from what I have seen on the topic, you take the brix of the produce and the plant at time of harvest. Stem, Leaf, and produce. Depending on the crop depends on what your target is. A grape will have a lower brix than a raisin, so you need to take it at the right time. The higher the brix the longer molecules and amino acids I heard mentioned multiple times.

Some of the stories, examples, photos I have heard and seen from the experts on this would make me believe they have done a lot of research and can even tell you what your zucchini is missing if it curved and tapered.

Evidently, bugs will eat healthy high brix plants, just not a lot. They get a belly ache and go to the next .

Also heard a story about a guy who provides certain produce to a store who has super high brix on this produce. The store sells the produce under their own brand. When his produce hits their shelves, the store sells over twice as much of it till they get to the next supplier.

I was told by multiple people, the higher the brix, (and they mean leaf, stalk, produce) the better tasting and the longer the shelf life. I could argue with them, but hearing it come from 3, 4, 5+ people and then from individual growers and other stories, why argue?

I think the consensus on what is going on falls right in line with permaculture succession type ideas. Bad plants and bad produce are returned to the ground to build the soil. Bad Bugs are really just Good Bugs returning Bad Produce back to the ground to make Good Soil. (Those are my words, but I'll release them into use for everyone, unless you make money off of it, at which point, you can contact me for further instruction. .)

Anyhow, the more I read and learn on this stuff, the less I want to do. Funny how that was my goal starting out and now I just figure out better and better ways at doing less and less to get more. Guess the saying less is more is a good one.

Nutrient Dense is something that is used to refer to high brix produce. Probably one of the best ways to increase your quantity and quality of life is to eat fewer calories while getting the same amount of nutrients. Nutrient dense food is what you need to do it.

On that, anyone tried any of the sea salt or sea mineral foliar sprays?
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:
It may be worth noting that superaccumulators are weaker, less vigorous plants as a rule when compared to their non-accumulator cousins, and they tend to have less predation. This bucks the trend mentioned in the work of Francis Chaboussou.


I can't agree. I think it affirms it. Super accumulators are indiscriminate in there accumulation. Certain heavy metals would weaken a plant. You would need to prove to me that super accumulators in a quality environment are also weaker for your rule to apply.
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
maikeru wrote:
I think the story is a bit more complicated and a bit more simple than that. Pesticides are involved yes, in that they allow weakened or susceptible plants and varieties to survive and thrive in situations and against pests and diseases that they otherwise wouldn't, but other factors, such as the heavy use of chemical fertilizers, imbalance of nutrients, breeding and less vigorous varieties being developed, cultivated, and favored, and monomaniacal focus on yields, monoculture, inbreeding/cloning, etc. play large roles to increase susceptibility, lack of vigor or hardiness, and adaptability.

From my past work, I became familiar with some plant protective chemicals like resveratrol, tannins, and certain antioxidants and vitamins. Resveratrol, for example, commonly found in grapes, is an anti-fungal (and interestingly enough, an anti-cancer agent). However, different varietals of grapes have and express different levels and concentrations of resveratrol under different circumstances and growing conditions, fertilizers and soils, stress, etc. It's highly modifiable and variable.


It is not more simple but is indeed more complicated than the one paragraph I could give on a forum post. His book covers many varying factors involved in the health of a plant including genetics....  but this thread is about high brix plants ... the interest was merely in bringing this angle to the discussion in terms of trophobiosis.
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dr_Temp wrote:
Also heard a story about a guy who provides certain produce to a store who has super high brix on this produce. The store sells the produce under their own brand. When his produce hits their shelves, the store sells over twice as much of it till they get to the next supplier.

I was told by multiple people, the higher the brix, (and they mean leaf, stalk, produce) the better tasting and the longer the shelf life. I could argue with them, but hearing it come from 3, 4, 5+ people and then from individual growers and other stories, why argue?
I believe it. We have a local supplier like that. When I buy there the produce lasts longer.... the taste is a little better... so a way to go still. I want so local it comes from my own garden. That tastes best.

Anyhow, the more I read and learn on this stuff, the less I want to do. Funny how that was my goal starting out and now I just figure out better and better ways at doing less and less to get more. Guess the saying less is more is a good one.
Reminds me of Dr Albert Howard... developer of the famous Indore Method of composting in India who abandoned the restrictions of increasing overspecialization in conventional agricultural science because he was becoming a hermit in his laboratory "learning more and more about less and less" and instead set out to be among the people and put what he had learned to work... learning how to grow a healthy crop in typical conditions in the field, rather than the usual untypical conditions in laboratories and test-plots that represented nothing other than themselves.

Nutrient Dense is something that is used to refer to high brix produce. Probably one of the best ways to increase your quantity and quality of life is to eat fewer calories while getting the same amount of nutrients. Nutrient dense food is what you need to do it.
I have come to the same conclusion...  as an interesting side note the story of Luigi Cornaro who learned how to live to 100 ...  http://drbass.com/cornaro.html

On that, anyone tried any of the sea salt or sea mineral foliar sprays?
I have found a kelp mix in water to be a marvellous boost to indoor plant health. I am interested to see if Moringa could not have the same benefits.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chelle Lewis wrote:
I can't agree. I think it affirms it. Super accumulators are indiscriminate in there accumulation. Certain heavy metals would weaken a plant. You would need to prove to me that super accumulators in a quality environment are also weaker for your rule to apply.


They are definitely not indiscriminate, and they are definitely weaker when grown in uncontaminated soils, they are usually stronger when growing in soil with what ever they accumulate, but just in comparison to a non-super accumulator There is still great debate about the role of super-accumulation as a defense against contamination or as a defense against herbivory. I had a professor who did his postdoc in super-accumulation and I will shoot him an email.
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Would appreciate that.
 
I was born with webbed fish toes. This tiny ad is my only friend:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/digital-market/digital-market/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!