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Getting the balance of fungi and bacteria  RSS feed

 
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Hello,

So I have mentioned several times about my wood chip bed that is rapidly decomposing thanks to wine cap mushrooms I added 9 months ago.  At present the chips look like a cross between peat moss and a potting mix.

Although I am looking forward to a nice crop of mushrooms, I am mostly undertaking this project to have extremely healthy soil, the basis of which will be the decomposed chips.  I am starting to think about the eventual soil microbiology.  I assume that at this point I have highly fungal dominated compost.  Should I be deliberately adding in bacterial colonies as well?  Are there (as I think) existing bacteria that I should nurture along?  Will the wine caps encourage the growth of bacteria in a mutualistic fashion?  Should I add a more diverse set of fungi rather than just wine caps?  I am especially thinking about mychorrizal (I wish spell checker recognized this word ) fungi and nitrogen fixing bacteria for legumes.  Instinct tells me that diversity is always better.

I know that I can buy Plantone plant food that is supposedly chocked full of beneficial microbes of all sorts and is made with organic ingredients.  I have used this before, but is this akin to giving my new soil a sugar rush?  Is there a more permie way to achieve these ends?

I am asking this because I have read RedHawk’s soil series and am wanting to find practical ways to achieve the microbial balance he talks about (50:50 fungi to bacteria).

Thanks in advance.  I know this is a complex question but this is also a long term experiment.

Eric
 
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Sugar Rush.
Just add some sugar or molasses (diluted) to the soil and your bacterial and yest population will explode.
Adding water kefir + milk kefir + worm compost + soil from a kale family or spinach family patch to a bucket of sugar water then aerate for 30hrs works wonders.
 
master pollinator
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Great question, Eric. You're surely not the first to ask this question.

S Bengi, why kale or spinach families? Do they have a particular nurturing effect on the microbiology of the soil? Does that mean that they work as support plants in that fashion in a polyculture?

-CK
 
Eric Hanson
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S Bengi,

Thanks for the feedback.  However, I am completely unfamiliar with kefir other than it is some form of anaerobic decomposition.  Could you explain to me in a little more detail what exactly kefir is?  I have been advised by RedHawk to add a mixture of spoiled milk and partially cooked rice.  I think (but really don't know) that the spoiled milk produces a bloom of bacteria and the rice serves as both a medium for distribution and as a source of future carbohydrates for the microbes.  Does this sound about right?  Would Kefir and the milk-rice mixture work in a similar fashion?

Thanks for the input.  I can certainly get worm castings easily and will add them in shortly.

Eric
 
S Bengi
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Spinach and kale family because they are one of the few plant families that don't form direct relationships with fungi. (But elm oysters do have positive correlation with them vs other edible mushroom). They tend to form relationships with (I can't think of the word, but these soil life also form the white mat of threads in compost that is at 140F which fungi don't thrive/survive in. The word will come back to me later) and also bacteria.

Water kefir does not contain any milk it is just water and sugar (dark sugar/molasses/etc). It can also be flavored/made with tea/spices/herbs/dried fruit/juice/fresh fruit/etc. It contains about 2 dozen different species of microbes with about 50 billion colony forming units per teaspoon. Most of these microbes love oxygen but they can do just fine without. If they have enough oxygen they completely use up the sugar and release CO2 making it fuzzy/soda but if they don't have enough they make lactic acid, vinegar acid, ethanol and such.

Milk kefir is made from milk and have 3 to 4 dozen different species of bacteria. With milk as the starter it has a much better nutrient profile. (It is safe for me to drink so safe for the soil, I also make soft and hard cheese with it)

Amasake is what is made from rice + koji microbe. It turns the rice into simple sugar which can then be fermented by other microbes to sake. It is also used to make soy sauce/miso and alot of eastern ferments)

I have been adding these to my mascadine grape for a few years and I get to harvest from with no cover or anything all the way up here in New England. Before I started adding this to them they were really sad.  (I also make tempeh but I never have any to spare to give to the soil. Yes sometimes I am greedy, and it really is that good. Tempeh is like block of sawdust/gain spawn made from boiled beans, I have thought about eating it raw but it is traditionally fried/baked after being made and I have no idea what would happen if I just ate it in bulk raw. That said I want to grow and try eating lions mane raw (actually drink it raw after throwing it in a high powered mixer that rips the cells apart). I also want to try red rice ferment.  But now I am all off topic.

And yes the rice wild ferment followed by milk wild ferment is similar to kefir, possible superior, but not really food grade even though some people do eat it (I wouldn't).
 
Eric Hanson
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S Bengi,

Thanks for the info.  Regarding the spinach/kale, would it be beneficial to plant these in order to help establish new bacterial colonies?  I am assuming that I do have bacteria there, but utilizing them might make them healthier?

Also, as I understand now, the kefir is sort of like a metropolis of bacteria where as the milk/rice is similar but more like a small town of bacteria which is in this analogy to say the milk/rice is good, but for the real bacterial diversity, the kefir is tops?  After my last post I landed on a YouTube video that showed kefir being made from specialized kefir grains.  Do I need to buy in the Kefir or are there around-the-house sources for this?

At the moment I am thinking that I can get the milk/rice going easily, plant spinach/kale in the spring along with some spring peas.  My thinking is that this could be my first cover crop for the mulch bead--I would grow a pair of plants that would encourage bacteria (I will inoculate the peas), fix some nitrogen, and provide shade for the wine caps to flourish.  Does this sound about right?    Also, I will do my best to get some worm castings spread out and the milk/rice added to the ground during a patch of fairly warm weather (not today--below freezing--but if we have more warm, wet weather I am thinking this would be ideal) just to get the microbiota in the bed and as the weather conditions improve, these microorganisms can spread and multiply early.

Please let me know if this sounds like a sound plan.  I am swimming with ideas so I appreciate any help.


Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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S Bengi, others,

So am I am sitting here thinking about how I am going to get the extra bacteria in my chip bed, I think I may have overlooked an obvious source of bacteria.  I have 6 comfrey plants near some of my garden beds.  These are plants that have 2 full seasons of growth on them.  Last year, I made relatively little use of the plants via chop and drop as I had planned.  Around the base of each plant I have a small mound of black, mostly decayed leaves sitting upon piles of wood chips.  Perhaps I am wrong, but my suspicion is that those decomposed leaves and the chips underneath them are chock full of bacteria.  Would there be any reason to not scrape these materials together and spread them on the new fungal dominated chip bed to seed them with some bacteria?  The comfrey plants by now are extremely healthy and were grown in a manure/bat guano mix and occasionally topped off with a little human urine.  I think that the ground beneath these little mulch machines is both plentifully supplied with nitrogen, not going to miss the materials I take, and will bounce back as soon as the weather turns warm (in fact, as we have had very mild weather, the comfrey plants are actually putting out new growth--2 years ago I fretted about not being able to get comfrey to start and now I could not get it to stop if I wanted to!).  I am thinking that I can take these materials pretty soon so as to get the microbes in place, even if their are only minimally active. I would love to hear anyone else' opinion, if for nothing more than to bounce an idea around.

Thanks for putting up with my impatience,

Eric
 
S Bengi
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I am not too sure which one is better for the soil. But I like stacking function and so if I can get a use out of it and the soil can then even better.

But if you or family members like beer/cider/soda then making water kefir is worthwhile, it's also a wonderful starter for vegetable ferments and also herbal/medicinal extract.

Milk kefir is also good for folk with milk intolerance. It's also good as a ferment starter, the clear liquid that is leftover after making cheese can be given to animals, etc, etc.

Amasake is full of digestive enzyme for everything cellulose, xylan, pectin, fat, protein, the list really does not end. So I think everyone should be having this. Don't be afraid to add some milk kefir or water kefir or kombucha, etc to amazake either. You can just add yeast too and make a bootleg alcoholic drink. You can also add it to your sourdough too. Feel free to experiment.  


Also this combination aerobic tea (milk K + water K + amasake + work compost + worm casting + healthy soil + sugar/molasses + boiled mushroom slurry or dead insect/crustacean) is perfect for a monthly spray of your vegetables/herbs/fruit trees.
 
S Bengi
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Wherever you have annuals/grassland/meadow you will have a more bacterial abundant population and where you have tree/forest/leave litter you will have a fungal abundant soil.
So just grab some healthy soil and you are already helping. Then plant some annuals and they will help select for bacteria.  
 
Eric Hanson
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S Bengi,

OK, I will give the kefir a serious consideration.  But before I do that, I need something and you sound like the person for this question:  What exactly is kefir and how does one go about making it?  This is a new term to me so I am really in uncharted territory here.

Thanks,

Eric
 
S Bengi
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Okay lets take a step back.

Maybe you know kombucha.
There is the kombucha scuby and there is the kombucha drink.
kombucha scuby is the mother/starter/spawn and we put it in the sugar+water and wait some time and then it is filled with the microbes and then we drink it.

Water kefir is similar.
We have the translucent water kefir grain/mother/spawn and the we add them to some sugar and water, wait 24hrs and while it reproduce, eats the sugar and release CO2 which makes it fuzzy like a soda. It also release lactic acid and vinegar, vitamins and other good compounds, with around 80% of the sugar removed. The longer it is fermented the more vinegar is produce and the lower the pH.


Milk kefir
very similar to the above except no need to mix water+sugar because milk is already water+sugar(lactose) and protein/fat/etc. It does the same produces acid so we end up with a yogurt/sour-like milk drink. It can also be strained to make a thicker greek yogurt like product. This can also be used to make hard or soft cheese. Once the milk pH drop to a certain level the curds will seperate from the whey and they can be seperated.

Milk kefir grain (which is white and "squishy" unlike the translucent and "firm" water kefir grain)
Fat 4.4%.
Ash 12.1%.
Muco-polysaccharides 45.7%.
Total protein 34.3%; consisting of insoluble protein 27.0%, soluble protein 1.6% and free amino acids 5.6%.
A small percentage of unknown substances.

List of Microbes in milk kefir
BIFIDOBACTERIA / LACTOBACILLI
Bifidobacterium psychraerophilum
[including some 4 more common strains of Bifidobacterium which is only found encapsulated in the grain's matrix]
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri]
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. fermentum
Lb. cellobiosus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. fructivorans
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. hilgardii
Lb. helveticus
Lb. kefiri
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
Lb. parakefiri
Lb. plantarum

STREPTOCOCCI / LACTOCOCCI
Streptococcus thermophilus
St. paracitrovorus
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Enterococcus durans
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Leuc. dextranicum ^

YEASTS
Dekkera anomala / Brettanomyces anomalus
Kluyveromyces marxianus / Candida kefyr
Pichia fermentans / C. firmetaria
Yarrowia lipolytica / C. lipolytica
Debaryomyces hansenii / C. famata
Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
Issatchenkia orientalis / C.krusei
Galactomyces geotrichum / Geotrichum candidum
C. friedrichii
C. rancens
C. tenuis
C. humilis
C. inconspicua
C. maris
Cryptococcus humicolus
Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis
Kluyv. bulgaricus
Kluyv. lodderae
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
Sacc. pastorianus
Sacc. humaticus
Sacc. unisporus
Sacc. exiguus
Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
Torulaspora delbrueckii
Zygosaccharomyces rouxii
*[Candida albicans (the bad hombre), has never been found in kefir, even when purposely added, the microbes in kefir reduce their population]

ACETOBACTER
Acetobacter aceti
Acetobacter rancens

OTHER BACTERIA
Bacillus sp.
Bacillus subtilus sp.
Micrococus sp.
Escherichia coli

Units Count of Microbes in Gram Stained Kefir Grains
Bacilli [single cells, pair, chains]
Streptococci [pair, chains]
Yeast [single cells]

The Means Range
Bacilli 66, 62-69%
Streptococci 16, 11- 12%
Yeast 18, 16- 20%

Evolution Sequence among Genus Groups during Kefir Culture Cycle
Lactococci > Lactobacilli > Leuconostoc > Yeast > Acetobacter

Microbial Composition of Kefir at End of Fermentation [colony forming units/ml]
Lactococci : 1,000,000,000
Leuconostocs : 100,000,000
Lactobacilli : 5,000,000
Yeast : 1,000,000
Acetobacter : 100,000
 
S Bengi
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Things kefir can make

Kefir Cottage Cheese Similar to traditional cottage-style fresh cheese. A fresh sweet curd prepared with fresh milk coagulated with kefir. This cheeses is 100% rennet free.

Kefir-SourCream A rich creamy fresh sour cream with a taste and texture similar to Italian Mascarpone, or Smetana, a favourite sour cream of Russia.

Kefir Butter is easy with the addition of kefir and or kefir grains in two ways. Kefir grains and kefir can be blended and then folded into fresh cream followed by churning, washing and pressing the butter into a block. Or, a small amount of kefir is folded into fresh cream and left to stand for 12 to 24 hours, before churning the sour cream and processing as above. These two processes produce butter reasonably quick, due to a reaction between the gel-polysaccharide of kefir grains [kefiran] and milk fat. An amalgamation of sorts occurs when kefiran and cream is churned, so that the butter usually comes with less effort. We can expect an increased butter yield, and the fresh butter enjoys an extended shelf life, due to kefiran and the antioxidant rich kefir. I also believe that the cholesterol of butter, which can increase the bad blood cholesterol in the body due to particular types of milk fat, is sort of bound by kefiran, in which renders the butter healthier, possibly another functional-food in fact.

Kefir-Leban The natural process of draining ready-to-drink kefir through cloth for a day, produces a fresh sour-curd cheese. Kefir-Leban is similar to Labneh of the Middle East or Pannier of India, or German Quark including Tvorog of Russia [or Lower Sorbian twarog, from Old Church Slavonic tvarog]. Another 100% rennet free fresh, delicious and nutritious healthy sour curd cheese.

Kefir-Straightjacket A kefir-curd dip or spread prepared from draining kefir [per Kefir-Leban above] with added ingredients to create a taste sensation that many people have gone crazy #@|@# asking for more [does that make any sense?]. The selected ingredients also help to keep the microbes in this fresh live cheese alive, even during storage! A probiotic fresh cheese-dip, come spread, come pizza topping... come on down and make these recipes for yourself and your family, by yesterday-- OR ELSE!

Kefir Pizza and Bread and other Baked Goodies A wholemeal pizza prepared with the addition of kefir as a sourdough starter or leavening agent [for rising dough], topped with generous dollops of Kefir-Straightjacket dip and other ingredients... get into that kitchen and rattle those pizza pans! By the way, the recipe for the pizza base can be used for kefir sourdough bread making. Kefir added to flour prepares wonderful pancakes. Scones and other baked goods are all possible, including pretzels among others delights than only the art of baking manna from heaven is designed to offer true wholesomeness. Adding a small amount of milk kefir-grains blended with a good cold pressed oil or linseed [flaxseed] meal to form a smooth emulsion included in a bread recipe, produces bread with an extra crispy crust, and a nice moist loaf! We don't stop here--- the possibilities are far reaching. Cakes, biscuits or any baked goods can greatly benefit the recipe with added kefir and or kefir grains prepared as an emulsion by blending in a food processor or by pounding in a mortar with a pestle.

Kefirkraut Naturally pickled cabbage /or other vegetables similar to traditional sauerkraut but without the addition of any salt or very low salt content if desired, as opposed to traditional sauerkraut which contains between 2% to 3% salt. Kefirkraut has converted many who dislike sauerkraut to kefirkraut devotees.

Kefirlat or Kefirlac A fermented cereal grain beverage prepared with sugary kefir grain-prepared water kefir and sprouted cereal grains. This is an extension of Rejuvelac principally similar to Kvass of Russia.

Water Kefir or Kefir d'acqua [the latter meaning kefir of water, Latin]. A refreshing, bubbly sugar/water beverage prepared with traditional translucent sugary kefir-grains [SKG] a cousin to milk kefir-grains. A version of water kefir can also be prepared with milk kefir-grains in place of traditional SKG. Water kefir is a vegan version of kefir, so vegans and true vegetarians too can enjoy making and drinking kefir as part of their lifestyle and diet. Traditional sugar-water recipe more commonly used is explained including my own rendition of the recipe.

Kefir d' erba medica [meaning Kefir made with medicinal herbs, Latin]. Probiotic herbal teas prepared with sugary kefir-grains or milk kefir-grains.

Kefir d'uva [meaning Kefir made with grape juice, Latin]. Another extension on water kefir cultured with grape juice instead of the more common ingredients, such as sugar, lemon, dry fig and water.

Kefir d'pollin [meaning Kefir made with bee pollen, Latin]. Either water-kefir or milk-kefir cultured with the addition of bee pollen. This recipe may help unlock nutrients, which through normal digestion are mostly unavailable from bee pollen. This limitation is due to the indigestible cell-wall of each pollen cell so the nutrients are unavailable through gastric digestion. Including bee pollen for preparing milk-kefir, the proteolytic enzyme-rich medium may help to at least partially break down the cell wall of bee pollen cells, so gastric digestion which follows may be able to further breakdown the cell wall, aiding in better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Although my understanding of bee pollen is that the cell-wall is made up of cellulose, which in this case, there would be little to quite marginally small enzymatic attack on the cellulose by kefir organisms, it is quite a delicious rendition to kefir nevertheless.

Kefir Recipes A few recipes to try, including The Butterfly [fruit juice + kefir beverage], the Water Butterfly [water-kefir + milk-kefir beverage], and the Kefir Charmer [kefir-smoothie], a great way of introducing kefir to children or to fussier taste buds... shneeky-he-he-heee!. Not omitting the Kefir Liver Blush, a herbal-based kefir beverage to increase/correct immune function, assist or correct liver function, and control inflammation of the bowel and more.

Kefir-Grain Gelato-Style Ice-Cream If someone told you that you could eat ice-cream and actually heal yourself from many gastro intestinal problems such as IBD and Ulcerative Colitis, you would probably think that there is no way this can be true. Well, you're wrong, for there is a way of eating your ice-cream and healing yourself too, and here it is. This ice-cream is functional-food at its best!

Kefir Preserving Brine [KPB] I discovered that brine prepared with kefir can be used as a natural preservative to prolong the shelf life of certain perishable foods [stored refrigerated]. Fresh cheeses such as Bocconcini. Tofu, cooked or raw legumes, meat and fish enjoy a longer shelf life due to controlled fermentation of those foods with kefir in the form of KPB. The antioxidant rich kefir including other properties of kefir are the culprits in this case, ALL GOOD, THOUGH!!!

Probiotic Herbal Kefir-Grain Condiment A probiotic savory condiment prepared with dehydrated milk kefir-grains or sugary kefir-grains with added herb-spices and sea salt ground to delicious powder. Preparation is simple.

Probiotic Sweetener including Kefir-Grain Lolloz A probiotic sweetener similar to the above, and sweet candy or carob/dark chocolate coated sweet streets. Ideas for the preparation are explained at this web page.

Application of kefir grains for treating infected wounds and warts I've discovered that kefir grains are effective in treating certain infections such as Ulcers when applied topically to the affected area, especially in conjunction with specific herbs. I've observed this in both man and beast alike. I've also removed warts by applying a kefir grain topically to warts, both planter and the common wart caused by the Human Papilloma Virus [HPV], which is linked to cervical cancer

Implementing kefir grains with medicinal herbs to correct Irritable Bowel Disease including liver dysfunction or hepatic disease with anti-inflammatory property as a beneficial side effect: A link to a photo explaining common herbs for preparing a health-promoting beverage with kefir grains and kefir. This is once again functional-food at its best!


http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html
 
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