[Market-farming] Things grow better with Coke

Elizabeth B. BluebonnetHillMiniaturesRanch at webtv.net
Thu Nov 4 09:28:51 EST 2004

Regarding yesterday`s discussion about Coca~Cola, I took some of your
comments and submitted the article to compost_tea at yahoogroups.com Please
find my original posting #3 followed by their comments.

Bluebonnet Hill Miniatures Ranch
Bonin~Tritt ``Able`` Farm
E-mail message 
From: compost_tea at yahoogroups.com Date: Thu, Nov 4, 2004, 11:40am 
(CST+6) To: compost_tea at yahoogroups.com Subject: [compost_tea] Digest
Number 885 
There were 12 messages in this issue.
Topics in this digest:
            3. A peculiar question
"Elizabeth" <spacecitydx at w....>
            4. Re: A peculiar question
"tomjasz" <tom at livesoil.com>
            5. Re: A peculiar question
soilfoodweb at aol.com
            6. Re: A peculiar question
"Mike Harvey" <mharvey at westnet.com.au>
            7. RE: A peculiar question
"Tom Jaszewski" <tom at livesoil.com>
            8. RE: A peculiar question
Robert Norsen <bnbrew at yahoo.com>
Message: 3 
   Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 19:57:42 -0000    From:
"Elizabeth" <spacecitydx at w...> 
Subject: A peculiar question 
The article below has been sent out on both the local harvest and Market
Farming list serves. I`ve taken an excerpt of all our questions and
comments; would you please answer my questions, based on the article I
have included and all your expertise with soil? Our question to the
below article is if you are applying phosphoric acid and CO2 (which
increases photosynthesis)..... 
1. What is the corn syrup and fructose doing to the soil? 
2. What fungi would/could develop on the plants as a result? 
3. Would it attract more beneficial insects? 
4. Any idea using this as a foliar spray do to our organic status? 
Things grow better with Coke
John Vidal
Tuesday November 2, 2004
The Guardian 
Indian farmers have come up with what they think is the real thing to
keep crops free of bugs. Instead of paying hefty fees to international
chemical companies for patented pesticides, they are reportedly spraying
their cotton and chilli fields with Coca-Cola. In the past month there
have been reports of hundreds of farmers turning to Coke in Andhra
Pradesh and Chattisgarh states. 
But as word gets out that soft drinks may be bad for bugs and a lot
cheaper than anything that Messrs Monsanto, Shell and Dow can offer,
thousands of others are expected to switch. Gotu Laxmaiah, a farmer from
Ramakrishnapuram in Andra Pradesh, said he was delighted with his new
cola spray, which he applied this year to several hectares of cotton. "I
observed that the pests began to die after the soft drink was sprayed on
my cotton," he told the Deccan Herald newspaper. Coca-Cola has had a bad
year in India. 
Other farmers in Andra Pradesh state accused the company of
over-extracting underground water for its bottling plants and a
government committee upheld findings that drinks made in India by itself
and PepsiCo contained unacceptable amounts of pesticide residue. But Mr
Laxmaiah and others say their cola sprays are invaluable because they
are safe to handle, do not need to be diluted and, mainly, are cheap.
One litre of highly concentrated Avant, Tracer and Nuvocron, three
popular Indian pesticides, costs around 10,000 rupees (£120), but
one-and-a-half litres of locally made Coca-Cola is 30 rupees. To spray
an acre would be a mere 270 rupees. 
It is clearly not Coke's legendary "secret" ingredient that is upsetting
the bugs. The farmers also swear by Pepsi, Thums Up, and other local
soft drinks. The main ingredients of all colas are water and sugar but
some manufacturers add citric and phosphoric acids to give that extra
bite to human taste buds. 
Yesterday a leading Indian agriculture analyst, Devinder Sharma, said:
"I think Coke has found its right use. Farmers have traditionally used
sugary solutions to attract red ants to feed on insect larvae. "I think
the colas are also performing the same role." The properties of Coke
have been discussed for years. It has been reported that it is a fine
lavatory cleaner, a good windscreen wipe and an efficient rust spot
Uncorroborated reports from China claimed that the ill-fated New Coke
was widely used in China as a spermicide. 
Yesterday a spokesman for Coca-Cola in Atlanta said: "We are aware of
one isolated case where a farmer may have used a soft drink as part of
his crop management routine. 
"Soft drinks do not act in a similar way to pesticides when applied to
the ground or crops. There is no scientific basis for this and the use
of soft drinks for this purpose would be totally ineffective." 
Message: 4 
   Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 20:34:24 -0000    From: "tomjasz"
<tom at livesoil.com> 
Subject: Re: A peculiar question 
Sounds like Jerry Baker has gone to India! 
Message: 5 
   Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 19:46:10 EST
   From: soilfoodweb at aol.com 
Subject: Re: A peculiar question 
In a message dated 11/3/2004 12:03:06 PM Pacific Standard Time,
spacecitydx at w... writes: 
Our question to the below article is if you are applying phosphoric acid
and CO2 (which increases photosynthesis)..... The molarity of phosphoric
acid is low in any soft drink. Given the phosphoric acid is added to a
not-concentrated water solution, the acid drops pH. But that low
molarity acid is neutralized fairly rapidly, if consumed and mixed with
other materials. Not what happens when you put dentures in a glass of
soft drink, however...... 
1. What is the corn syrup and fructose doing to the soil? These are food
resources for bacteria. There will be a bloom of bacterial growth in
direct relation to the amount of soft drink added. More soft drink, more
bacterial growth. 
This can serve to tie up excess nitrate, and reduce weed growth. Too
much, however, and you can kill plants by causing a nutrient depletion.
It's a Goldilocks Principle.... not too much, not too little, we need
just right. Test out the concentration needed by testing increasing
concentrations of the soft drink on a field...... 
2. What fungi would/could develop on the plants as a result? The sugars
are pretty much bacterial foods. If you didn't have any bacteria, then
the sugars would help the less desirable fungi. It is rare indeed to
lack bacteria in soil. So, by growing lots of bacteria, you may select
against fungal recovery. That might be a down side. If you get too much
bacterial growth, however, oxygen might become limiting, and you'd get
loss of N, S, P, etc. But that would require a huge amount of soft
drink. And spraying on the leaf surfaces means there would be no
anaerobic worries. The phosphoric acid might need to be neutralized a
little.   Adding water to 
the mix should remove that as a concern. 
3. Would it attract more beneficial insects? Hum, don't know about this.
Can I send this question to Joe Whaley to see if he has any ideas? 
4. Any idea using this as a foliar spray do to our organic status?
Shouldn't cause a problem, unless the phosphoric acid concentration is
greater than allowed by organic regs. That would be the only thing you
would want to check with your certifier. Otherwise, soft drinks are food
grade material, and generally if people can consume it, then the organic
world should regard it as pretty much being ok. Anyone else have any
Elaine R. Ingham
Soil Foodweb Inc., Corvallis, Oregon 
Soil Foodweb Inc., Port Jefferson, New York Soil Foodweb Institute,
Lismore Australia Soil Foodweb Institute Cambridge, New Zealand
Laboratorios de Soil Foodweb, Culiacan, Mexico Soil Foodweb Inc.,
Jerome, Idaho 
Soil Foodweb Inc., South Africa
[This message contained attachments] 
Message: 6 
   Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 08:50:39 +0800 
   From: "Mike Harvey" <mharvey at westnet.com.au> Subject: Re: A
peculiar question The concept of using soft drink as a component in
folia sprays dates I believe to Carey Reams and is promoted by such
people as Arden Andersen, Dan Skow and other consultants. 
There are a number of theories that explain this. 
1. The phos acid in the spray goes into the plant and increases
Phosphate levels this then leads to higher photosynthsis and higher
sugar in the plant- plant Brix is increased. It may also help reduce
nitrate levels by turning excess nitrates in the plants into true
protein- another product of photosynthesis Thus insects feeding on this
higher brix plant juice end up producing alcohol and this kills them or
may cause them to leave the plants and move elsewhere. 
2. The increase in Plant Brix causes a change in vibrationary
frequencies-see Phil Callahans work and Dr BruceTanio. This change
causes the plant to not attract insects and indeed repel them because
the plant is no longer garbage and the garbage collectors (pest insects)
do not then need to do their job. 
3. Long chain proteins are made when plants are higher brix- these are
more difficult for the insects to eat and process- again the nitrate to
higher protein/ funny protein to true protein concept. 
4. higher brix plants produce higher and more complex essential oils -
these repel insects. 
5. Other reasons yet to be discovered. 
In answer to your questions I will give my opinion. The amount of sugar
etc applied in these foliar sprays is very small- not enough to affect
the soil to any extent. It will be enough to cause some growth of
whatever Microbes are on the plants (others can better answer this one).
It is unlikely to attract beneficial insects per se, however you will be
able to better manage beneficials since there is no need for toxic
materials to be in the area and the pest insects are weakened thus
beneficials can control them easier. IPM seems to work better using this
strategy at least that has been my experience. I am no expert on organic
status- however phosphoric acid is not allowed unless used to preserve
things such as liquid fish etc. Building soil biology is more effective
in the long term since this will make the phosphates and calciums
available to the plants and thus enable high brix plants to be produced
that will be resistant to all insect attack (since they will no longer
be garbage!!) 
regards Mike Harvey 
B. Hort Sci
Message: 7 
   Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 19:22:40 -0800 
   From: "Tom Jaszewski" <tom at livesoil.com> Subject: RE: A
peculiar question 
Anyone else have any thoughts? 
[Tom Jaszewski] 
Given Coca Cola companies involvement and acceptance of GE crops, it
could cure my nasty disposition and I wouldn't drink it much less use it
on plants. But my mechanic DOES use it to clean corroded battery
Message: 8 
   Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 21:00:01 -0800 (PST)    From:
Robert Norsen <bnbrew at yahoo.com> Subject: RE: A peculiar question 
WAAy off topic Tom but I agree so it's OK Bob 
********END OF COMMENTS*********** 

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