Matt Rize

Inoculants

Published by Matt Rize

 

There are many products marketed to medical marijuana growers these days. They vary in price and species greatly. Many of the inoculant products marketed to Cannabis growers contain endomycorrhizal fungi, ectomycorrhizal fungi, bacteria, and Trichoderma (a genus of fungi). I call these "broad spectrum" inoculants to separate them from the inoculants that are solely endomycorrhizal fungi, or one of the others. These broad spectrum inoculants are designed to work with all plants, and many of the species in these products simply do not work with Cannabis plants.

Some common examples of inoculant products marketed to medical marijuana growers are (prices vary):
Great White from Plant Success @ $100/lb. This product also contains vitamin B1. http://www.plant-success.com/index.php/ … hizae.html
Myco Madness from Humboldt Nutrients @ $75/lb. This product also contains 10% crappy humic acid. http://www.humboldtnutrients.com/root-s … o-madness/
White Widow from Humboldt Nutrients @ 160/lb. This product is endomycorrhizal fungi. http://www.humboldtnutrients.com/root-s … ite-widow/
ZHO from Botanicare @ 80/lb. This product contains both Endomychorrizal and Trichoderma fungi. http://www.americanagritech.com/biologi … -inoculant
Sub Culture M and B from General Hydro @ 80/lb. The M is endo and ectomyco, and the B is advertised as Bacillus. I'm not sure exactly the labels are inconsistent. http://www.generalhydroponics.com/genhy … lture.html

Recently on the market we are seeing inoculants of just one or two species. Common examples are Xtreme Gardening's Azos, which contains Azospirillum Brasilense XOH and is meant to be used in conjunction with endomycorrhizal fungi or, one of the broad spectrum inoculants. Another example is Mayan Micorzyme from Humboldt Nutrients which is unique in that it is a liquid, and the labeling tells you it is half aerobic and half anaerobic. This inoculant also needs to be brewed like a compost tea and watered in, as opposed to mixed into the media as a powder and/or sprayed on the roots during transplant.

"MAYAN MICROZYME: Liquid concentrate. Non-pathogenic immobilized and stabilized bacterial-enzymatic complex. Active ingredients: Azotobacter vinelandii, Clostridium pasteurianum, in a broad-spectrum proprietary blend of microorganisms and stabilizing biopolymer substrate. Aerobic microorganisms ? 330,000 cfu/ml; Anaerobic microorganisms ? 330,000 cfu/ml." http://www.mayanmicrozyme.com/product1of2.html

Some quality inoculants exist that are not marketed to cannabis growers specifically. Give thanks. Some of the most well known include:
BioAg VAM @ $50/lb. This product is solely labeled as endomycorr, although is does contain some naturally occurring bacteria. Dr. Faust is the man, and so is Mr. Zadow. Great folks, great products, great customer service, quick delivery, BEST PRICE. http://www.bioag.com/allotherstates.html
Fungi Perfecti @ $80/lb. Founded by Paul Stamets. A lot of folks swear by this product. It contains endo, ecto, bacteria, and tricho. http://www.fungi.com/mycogrow/index.html

Here is what I've gathered from the pros on these inoculant products.
 

Ecto mycorrhizae do nothing for vegetables, herbs or cannabis. Ecto mainly associate with coniferous trees. Only endo mycorrhizae associate with cannabis and Glomus intraradices is the most versatile and aggressive endo strain and is the strain with the highest propagules. You will notice that there are other strains with lower counts. These will still associate and have specific strengths either for certain conditions like soil pH and other environmental conditions or specific plant parameter advantages. Our VAM endo is not fortified with pure cultures of bacteria, although there are beneficial bacteria present in the product. Because they are not cultured individually and then blended in the final product they can't really be guaranteed for specific CFU's and therefore are not listed on the label. That being said, even though G. intraradices is the most aggressive and versatile

As far as Trichodermas go, if you search the scientific database you can find examples of mycorrhizae having synergistic effects with them and some that demonstrate where Trichoderma will use the mycorr. as a food source if nothing else is available. Soil microbiology is a complex subject and can be unpredictable when it comes to their interactions.
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I thought I would take a quick minute to address "soluble" mycorrhizae products. These should/are really classified as wettable powders (WP) because they are not truly soluble, rather "suspendable". Anyways, if a mycorr product is grown in containers and then harvest and micronized, like the one in question on your thread, the micronization of the substrate has deleterious effects on the spores in the way of heat and mechanical maceration. Typically you expect for around only 25% (very rough figure and can float dependent on type of micronizer) of the spores to be viable after the milling is complete. Now you are left with mostly hyphae and root fragments to inoculate. This is ok but the shelf life of those compared to spores is low, around 6 months compared to a couple of years for spores stored under proper conditions. WP products should be avoided. In tight soils and heavy clays spores are not even mobile within the soils structures and is a waste to even try watering mycorr in. The best way to apply is by direct contact with exposed roots during transplanting. I believe you are on the right track with the combination of vermi-tea and mycorrhizae rather than trying to continually add one of the broad spectrum overpriced microbe inoculants like Great White. Most of the mycorr inoculants found in hydro stores are private labels of Mycorrhizal Application products... I would also be very skeptical of any liquid mycorr products as well.

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March-Hayre  (3 posts)
Tuesday, Aug 16 2011 at 3:19p
 
Thanks. This is very useful.
 
InTheBeginning  (7 posts)
Thursday, Aug 25 2011 at 5:36p
 

Hi Matt;

Pretty good information. The best source of general microbial inoculants is compost or compost tea IMO.

Glomus Intraradices is produced by Premier in Quebec and shipped to other distributors (in Oregon, etc). The Premier retail product is called Myke. There are 7 spores per gram. (AFAIK) which seems low to me but probably the industry standard. The good news is that it does not include Trichoderma. Some guy named Tim hopes to start selling spores in 2012 to 13.

 

~ITB~

 
BudderBreakfast  (7 posts)
Saturday, Feb 25 2012 at 8:25p
 
so do you think that homemade worm casting straight from the bin to the brewer would be as benificial as any of these products and there is no need to add any of these to the tea if you can provide fresh worm castings?
 
ShaunMarijuana  (2 posts)
Saturday, Mar 16 2013 at 2:29p
 
I wish you would point out that some MMJ growers couldn't give a hoot about endo's, like me. I care about the bacterial components and I have sent samples of both GH's Sub products, Great White, Orca and three of AN's products to a local college to be cultured by a first year biochem class. The teacher is a patient of mine. GH's Sub M would barely culture, probably because of the humic in it, Sub b was mediocre at best, Great White, Orca (especially) and all of AN's products showed high activity. Now this was not scientific, this was to teach basic lab culturing skills to students. So take it fwiw.
 
ShaunMarijuana  (2 posts)
Saturday, Mar 16 2013 at 2:41p
 
One other point my friend pointed out to me, she said that during grad school the research indicated that if you do get AMF's to colonize your root system you need to make sure your P use keeps the soil at less than 50ppm. The more P you use the less active the AM is and since they derive carbon from the plant this can induce a net carbon drain and put the plant in stress. High P bloom busters would be a no-no, but I see people doing this all the time. Simply amazes me, especially since they know now that Cannabis is not as fond of P as the nute companies would like you to believe.
 
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Wednesday, Aug 7 2013 at 12:44a
 
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