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questions on fungi and microscopy  RSS feed

 
Posts: 140
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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I have found a lot of mushrooms growing on a wood chip pile near my house and I will make a spore slurry for my blueberry.  From what i understand (from P. Stamets) is that fungi do not benefit blueberry but from Redhawk they may benefit the soil for the blueberry.  (Do I have this right?) 
Are there types of fungi to avoid for using with my other fruits (pear, persimmon, plum, jujube, kiwi, grapes, raspberry, blackberry, muscadine)?  I know that there will be tons of ringless honey (Armillaria tabescens) in my neighborhood but they are parasitic to hardwood roots.  Do I avoid these types or any other?

Also for microscopy.  I have bought an Amscope 2500X compound scope (Thanks Redhawk for the suggestion).  Are there any recommendations for stains or oils for soil studies?

Thank you
 
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There are fungi that benefit blueberries and related plants (endomycorrhizal), but they are different fungi than those for most of your fruits and veg.  Split gill fungus (Schizophyllum commune?) is a parasite on many hardwood trees.  Mainly try to make sure that your plants are healthy and have what they need and parasitic fungi are much less likely to attack them.  Their job in the ecosystem is to "weed out" (pun intended) plants that are weak or in the wrong place.  What's useful is to have a balance in the soil of Bacterial and fungal microbes in the soil.  A diversity of microbes is beneficial, and a nearly equal mix would be good for blueberries. Most people till a lot. It kills the fungi and makes the balance too bacterial for most garden plants, but awesome for weeds.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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For your microscope kit you want mineral oil (goes between the lens and slide for proper focusing on the more powerful lenses (usually 1800x and higher need the oil)
Stains you will want are Gram stain, this one will do around 80% of the bacteria and fungi we want to see (and have present) and if you want more than just the gram stain, Aniline blue is a good second stain to have on hand, these two will give you a great starting pair.
It is possible to have too many stains available so I like people to start out with two and then you can add more as you find you need them.
There are now reference books that list which stain for which organisms. Many of the stains out there are for things like seeing the mitochondria inside a cell, so a reference is a good thing to add your list of wants.

You will also want a grid plate (makes counting organisms far easier and it allows you to calculate ratios)

Good scope by the way (two thumbs up)

Redhawk
 
Dennis Bangham
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Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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Thanks John and Redhawk. 
 
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