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Mycorrhizal Fungi Symbiosis with Plants / Biochar for C Sequestration #fungi


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

A recent paper in Nature Communications focuses attention on the symbiosis of plants and MF in sequestering C. One line that jumped out at me was,
"Our analysis shows that across large geographical scales, higher cover of EcM (ecto-mycorrhizal) vegetation is broadly associated with greater soil C stocks in both topsoil and subsoil, while AM (arbuscular MR) vegetation has more variable, weaker and mostly negative relationships." 
I haven't read the full paper, but am wondering if anyone sees any implications here about biochar's role, pro- or anti-, in the symbiosis of MF and plants to sequester carbon.

Robert Gillett


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

A little research on the connection of biochar to EcM leads me to the hopeful conclusion that biochar will foster better fungal growth similarly to the way it works with AM (though the literature pretty much exclusively discusses AM). To the extent that afforestation can occur (possibly aided by using biochar) in boreal regions and other areas shown in the paper to prefer EcM, the belowground C should be increased considerably more than in areas that prefer AM.

RWG


Geoff Thomas
 

Hi Robert, I would think that to the degree that Biochar fosters the underground Biology, it will help everything including the fungi, - to what degree it particularly helps the Mycorrhizal, eg with cat-ion flow etc,  you could ask Stephen Joseph.
It seems that if you have in your Biochar, samples of the MC from your target area, and food to help it replicate, then it can be a major boost, and also provide as it were little fortresses that the microflora can hide in the carbon matrix  till the (say) drought finishes.
It is certainly a significant area of research, - not so much for Chemichar but certainly for Biochar.

Cheers,
Geoff Thomas.

On 19 Nov 2019, at 11:50 am, ROBERT W GILLETT <themarvalus.wabio@...> wrote:

A little research on the connection of biochar to EcM leads me to the hopeful conclusion that biochar will foster better fungal growth similarly to the way it works with AM (though the literature pretty much exclusively discusses AM). To the extent that afforestation can occur (possibly aided by using biochar) in boreal regions and other areas shown in the paper to prefer EcM, the belowground C should be increased considerably more than in areas that prefer AM.

RWG


Glenn Atkisson
 

Hi Geoff,

I agree that biochar will help growth of both plants (and their roots) and the resident Mycorrhizae. The C found in biochar is a separate feature of the soil than the C found in the fungi. Biochar will help both plants and Mycorrhizal fungi grow, and then the symbiotic relationship between the plants and fungi will increase the growth of both the fungi and the plants from the trade of plant sugars (C) for fungi provided minerals. As the fungi grows, the carbon from the sugars is put to use in the fungi structure. There's possibly more carbon sequestered in the fungi from plant sources than there is in the roots of the plants. Either way, the soil gets the carbon, and the better the plants/fungi grow, the higher the sequestration.

https://mycorrhizae.com/

says, at one point: "Research indicates, however, many common practices can degrade the mycorrhizae-forming potential of soil." Tillage and leaving soil fallow are some of the main ways that a micorrhizal matrix will get degraded.

One thing that soil scientists stress is that if you have a non-tilled environment (pasture, woodland, etc.) mycorrhizae will dominate the soil microbiology, and if you till the soil or otherwise leave the soil without plant life for long periods, you will have dominance of bacterial life, as the lack of plant life wipes out fungi populations, and they restore a matrix over a long period of time. Bacterial life can multiply and cover an environment in hours. You can inoculate soil with fungi with each planting of a tilled field, but the gain is minimal due to the slow rate of growth of fungi. And, you cannot cultivate micorrhizal fungi at all without the plant host:

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/4/1493

Biochar can be used any time in an annual cropping system. It can be put in the soil any time the soil is ready to plant. But in an AM dominant system that needs minimal soil disturbance, it becomes very important to get an ample dose of biochar installed on those rare occasions when the soil must be disturbed, as in replanting a new pasture (or fairway), laying sod, or harvesting timber. It seems biochar sales should stress this issue when presenting biochar benefits to these businesses.

Glenn


Geoff Thomas
 

Thanks Glenn, all good stuff, and the advice about requiring a plant is very timely.
I am going to a customers place, (to assess his site for Hydro) tomorrow, but he wants to talk to me about Biochar in the context of him planting top canopy trees in a rain forest with currently only low and middle canopy trees. - He plans on making a mixture of pipe clay and local soil and embedding the tree seed in that, placing it on the ground and pressing it flat with his foot, - app. 80 acres, high quality timber seeds, to be harvested very carefully 20 years of more from now to be sustainable forest.
I suggested, based on a belief that there would be some MC in the local soil as he is getting that from under rotting logs which are white with fungus, to include some food for the fungi, - at least sugar or molasses mix.
It is in the context of tree planting in Far North Queensland exhibiting very slow start-up, either from plants or seeds.
Mind you, a lot of those who put in plants use round-up to control weeds, the which it certainly does, but at what cost to the soil biology..
This farmer doesn’t believe in round-up, but weeds three times by hand.
Any thoughts please?

Cheers,
Geoff.

On 20 Nov 2019, at 12:27 am, Glenn Atkisson via Groups.Io <thurx@...> wrote:

Hi Geoff,

I agree that biochar will help growth of both plants (and their roots) and the resident Mycorrhizae. The C found in biochar is a separate feature of the soil than the C found in the fungi. Biochar will help both plants and Mycorrhizal fungi grow, and then the symbiotic relationship between the plants and fungi will increase the growth of both the fungi and the plants from the trade of plant sugars (C) for fungi provided minerals. As the fungi grows, the carbon from the sugars is put to use in the fungi structure. There's possibly more carbon sequestered in the fungi from plant sources than there is in the roots of the plants. Either way, the soil gets the carbon, and the better the plants/fungi grow, the higher the sequestration.

https://mycorrhizae.com/

says, at one point: "Research indicates, however, many common practices can degrade the mycorrhizae-forming potential of soil." Tillage and leaving soil fallow are some of the main ways that a micorrhizal matrix will get degraded.

One thing that soil scientists stress is that if you have a non-tilled environment (pasture, woodland, etc.) mycorrhizae will dominate the soil microbiology, and if you till the soil or otherwise leave the soil without plant life for long periods, you will have dominance of bacterial life, as the lack of plant life wipes out fungi populations, and they restore a matrix over a long period of time. Bacterial life can multiply and cover an environment in hours. You can inoculate soil with fungi with each planting of a tilled field, but the gain is minimal due to the slow rate of growth of fungi. And, you cannot cultivate micorrhizal fungi at all without the plant host:

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/4/1493

Biochar can be used any time in an annual cropping system. It can be put in the soil any time the soil is ready to plant. But in an AM dominant system that needs minimal soil disturbance, it becomes very important to get an ample dose of biochar installed on those rare occasions when the soil must be disturbed, as in replanting a new pasture (or fairway), laying sod, or harvesting timber. It seems biochar sales should stress this issue when presenting biochar benefits to these businesses.

Glenn


Geoff Thomas
 

Oops Glenn, I also suggested he put in some Biochar into his seed ball, - was just focusing on the MC. - MCF Mycorrihizal Fungi.

Cheers,
Geoff.

On 20 Nov 2019, at 1:14 pm, Geoff Thomas <wind@...> wrote:

Thanks Glenn, all good stuff, and the advice about requiring a plant is very timely.
I am going to a customers place, (to assess his site for Hydro) tomorrow, but he wants to talk to me about Biochar in the context of him planting top canopy trees in a rain forest with currently only low and middle canopy trees. - He plans on making a mixture of pipe clay and local soil and embedding the tree seed in that, placing it on the ground and pressing it flat with his foot, - app. 80 acres, high quality timber seeds, to be harvested very carefully 20 years of more from now to be sustainable forest.
I suggested, based on a belief that there would be some MC in the local soil as he is getting that from under rotting logs which are white with fungus, to include some food for the fungi, - at least sugar or molasses mix.
It is in the context of tree planting in Far North Queensland exhibiting very slow start-up, either from plants or seeds.
Mind you, a lot of those who put in plants use round-up to control weeds, the which it certainly does, but at what cost to the soil biology..
This farmer doesn’t believe in round-up, but weeds three times by hand.
Any thoughts please?

Cheers,
Geoff.

On 20 Nov 2019, at 12:27 am, Glenn Atkisson via Groups.Io <thurx@...> wrote:

Hi Geoff,

I agree that biochar will help growth of both plants (and their roots) and the resident Mycorrhizae. The C found in biochar is a separate feature of the soil than the C found in the fungi. Biochar will help both plants and Mycorrhizal fungi grow, and then the symbiotic relationship between the plants and fungi will increase the growth of both the fungi and the plants from the trade of plant sugars (C) for fungi provided minerals. As the fungi grows, the carbon from the sugars is put to use in the fungi structure. There's possibly more carbon sequestered in the fungi from plant sources than there is in the roots of the plants. Either way, the soil gets the carbon, and the better the plants/fungi grow, the higher the sequestration.

https://mycorrhizae.com/

says, at one point: "Research indicates, however, many common practices can degrade the mycorrhizae-forming potential of soil." Tillage and leaving soil fallow are some of the main ways that a micorrhizal matrix will get degraded.

One thing that soil scientists stress is that if you have a non-tilled environment (pasture, woodland, etc.) mycorrhizae will dominate the soil microbiology, and if you till the soil or otherwise leave the soil without plant life for long periods, you will have dominance of bacterial life, as the lack of plant life wipes out fungi populations, and they restore a matrix over a long period of time. Bacterial life can multiply and cover an environment in hours. You can inoculate soil with fungi with each planting of a tilled field, but the gain is minimal due to the slow rate of growth of fungi. And, you cannot cultivate micorrhizal fungi at all without the plant host:

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/4/1493

Biochar can be used any time in an annual cropping system. It can be put in the soil any time the soil is ready to plant. But in an AM dominant system that needs minimal soil disturbance, it becomes very important to get an ample dose of biochar installed on those rare occasions when the soil must be disturbed, as in replanting a new pasture (or fairway), laying sod, or harvesting timber. It seems biochar sales should stress this issue when presenting biochar benefits to these businesses.

Glenn



Glenn Atkisson
 

Geoff,

This tree planting project sounds very interesting. Do I read correctly that the customer has determined a planting scheme that involves, in part, including pipe clay and other material placed on top of existing forest soil?

Is there a biodynamic method intended here, as in the ideas of Rudolph Steiner? It seems somewhat similar to Steiner's ideas if there is some functionality to the pipe clay. I'm not familiar with biodynamic methods, but I certainly wouldn't disregard them, or at least their consideration. It's just interesting that your customer may already be considering biodynamics.

Along the lines of the use of biochar together with remnants of clay pottery, you might find this post interesting, that I just dug up from the old Yahoo group history in the group "soilandhealth."

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/soilandhealth/conversations/messages/40974

Regarding the concern of tree planting with "very slow start-up", I'm thinking that is not as much the case in an established, multi-species resident forest as it would be in a cleared, new tree plantation.

It seems a "very slow start-up" may not be the case in your project because compressing the seed ball on the forest floor surface seems to have minimal impact on the resident MCF beneath the seed ball, leaving all the nutrient gathering power of the MCF matrix intact.

This should minimize the time before the hyphae of the fungi make contact or penetrate the new roots of the seedling and begin nutrient exchange. Having the roots "plugged in" to the MCF matrix can often make the actual nutrients in soil surrounding the new plant's roots insignificant compared to the nutrients (and water) that can be delivered via the MCF matrix which can represent a huge capacity for nutrient gathering compared to roots alone.

It will be interesting to see what happens in your project.

Cheers,

Glenn Atkisson


Geoff Thomas
 


On 21 Nov 2019, at 4:49 am, Glenn Atkisson via Groups.Io <thurx@...> wrote:

Geoff,

This tree planting project sounds very interesting. Do I read correctly that the customer has determined a planting scheme that involves, in part, including pipe clay and other material placed on top of existing forest soil?

Is there a biodynamic method intended here, as in the ideas of Rudolph Steiner? It seems somewhat similar to Steiner's ideas if there is some functionality to the pipe clay. I'm not familiar with biodynamic methods, but I certainly wouldn't disregard them, or at least their consideration. It's just interesting that your customer may already be considering biodynamics.

Along the lines of the use of biochar together with remnants of clay pottery, you might find this post interesting, that I just dug up from the old Yahoo group history in the group "soilandhealth."

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/soilandhealth/conversations/messages/40974

Regarding the concern of tree planting with "very slow start-up", I'm thinking that is not as much the case in an established, multi-species resident forest as it would be in a cleared, new tree plantation.

It seems a "very slow start-up" may not be the case in your project because compressing the seed ball on the forest floor surface seems to have minimal impact on the resident MCF beneath the seed ball, leaving all the nutrient gathering power of the MCF matrix intact.

This should minimize the time before the hyphae of the fungi make contact or penetrate the new roots of the seedling and begin nutrient exchange. Having the roots "plugged in" to the MCF matrix can often make the actual nutrients in soil surrounding the new plant's roots insignificant compared to the nutrients (and water) that can be delivered via the MCF matrix which can represent a huge capacity for nutrient gathering compared to roots alone.

It will be interesting to see what happens in your project.

Cheers,

Glenn Atkisson


Geoff Thomas
 




Hi Glenn, Whilst I have 40 years as a Rudolf Steiner Scholar, I said nothing of that nor from him to me, of  course those ideas have been percolating through our consciousness, goodness knows what we have developed.
He does seem to have an especial thing for the pipe clay, I could not read your article, as I have long lost the Yahoo password, sorry.
His property is the catchment for Pipe Clay creek.
In the mean time, he has decided to evolve a new method, - I should mention he is planting Maples, and the logs he gets the fungus from are under the maple trees as his property originally had many maples, and still quite a few, he sells very fine timber mainly to the Guitar industry.
Now he scratches the leaf litter off, and has the mixture, - now including flour to feed the fungus, and a bit of charcoal, in a bucket, - puts a handful of that in the space, puts the maple seed, (a winged seed) on top and scratches the leaf litter back on top.
Yes he goes through the forest, removing some sick trees and some early regrowth trees, creating sort of open patches, wherein he plants.
The maples will form the canopy, - there are no canopy trees there now, - only understory trees.
So he has taken my ideas on board, and also is aware that we may not get a rainy season this year..

Thanks for your interest and thoughts, Glenn,  - much appreciated.

Geoff Thomas.

This tree planting project sounds very interesting. Do I read correctly that the customer has determined a planting scheme that involves, in part, including pipe clay and other material placed on top of existing forest soil?
YES

Is there a biodynamic method intended here, as in the ideas of Rudolph Steiner? It seems somewhat similar to Steiner's ideas if there is some functionality to the pipe clay. I'm not familiar with biodynamic methods, but I certainly wouldn't disregard them, or at least their consideration. It's just interesting that your customer may already be considering biodynamics.

Along the lines of the use of biochar together with remnants of clay pottery, you might find this post interesting, that I just dug up from the old Yahoo group history in the group "soilandhealth."

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/soilandhealth/conversations/messages/40974

Regarding the concern of tree planting with "very slow start-up", I'm thinking that is not as much the case in an established, multi-species resident forest as it would be in a cleared, new tree plantation.

It seems a "very slow start-up" may not be the case in your project because compressing the seed ball on the forest floor surface seems to have minimal impact on the resident MCF beneath the seed ball, leaving all the nutrient gathering power of the MCF matrix intact.

This should minimize the time before the hyphae of the fungi make contact or penetrate the new roots of the seedling and begin nutrient exchange. Having the roots "plugged in" to the MCF matrix can often make the actual nutrients in soil surrounding the new plant's roots insignificant compared to the nutrients (and water) that can be delivered via the MCF matrix which can represent a huge capacity for nutrient gathering compared to roots alone.

It will be interesting to see what happens in your project.

Cheers,

Glenn Atkisson