[NAFEX] Fw: mychorizal fungal rip off?

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Thu Mar 26 15:55:16 EDT 2009

Strangely, I find myself agreeing with both Bill and Donna, and thought they
both had some very good points, even though the points seemed somewhat
conflicting.  On the one hand, black and white research has limitations
because of statistical variance (it's sometimes amazing how conclusions are
drawn from such tiny samples), or not considering enough variables in
setting up the research (i.e. testing mychorizal on numerous different soil
types).  Sometimes it seems research limitations are built in because there
is rarely enough funding to do exhaustive research.

On the other hand, it is frustrating to sometimes see whole industries built
on nothing but anecdotal evidence.  Some industry selling foo foo powder
will jerry rig their own research to support their conclusions.  Then, when
there is no MAINSTREAM research to support them, they claim the
universities, corporations, doctors, government, etc. are being paid-off.
Supposedly, it's all one big conspiracy. Our human mind is very tricky.  It
will accept what we "want to believe" first, then rationalize the facts to
fit, all the while fooling us into thinking we have found the truth of the

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "William C. Garthright" <>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] mychorizal fungal rip off?

> > There have been discussions of foliar feeds on this group with many
> > folks saying they do nothing.  Well, nothing compared to what?
> > Nothing compared to a garden in Iowa soil I can understand.  But with
> > worthless soil, anything a plant can get is noticeably helpful.
> That's a very good point, Donna. Our situations are all different. But
> one big problem with this kind of discussion, from my point of view, is
> simply that anecdotes aren't evidence. Without peer-reviewed, duplicable
> scientific research - with careful controls and, if possible,
> double-blind precautions - it's really hard to know for sure what's real
> and what's just an artifact of our expectations, beliefs, and hopes. And
> I must add that much of what I hear about mycorrhizal fungi and foliar
> sprays is from people who are selling the stuff (not that I think that
> they're lying, only that it's even easier in such a case to fool
> Let me be clear that I know NOTHING about mycorrhizal fungi (the
> original topic here) myself. I did use it when I planted my fruit trees,
> vines, and bushes in my backyard, because I figured that it couldn't
> hurt. But I have no idea if it was a waste of money or not. So I am not
> criticizing the practice. I just don't know.
> But I do know that I like the scientific approach at this Horticultural
> Myths website:
> or
> http://tinyurl.com/6d8ye6
> At a quick glance, I don't see any articles about mycorrhiza, but here's
> a good example of an article about compost tea which clearly explains
> about scientific research:
> or
> http://tinyurl.com/ct8lmq
> I'm just trying to say - in my own long-winded way - that I'd prefer
> scientific evidence, one way or another, about mycorrhizal fungi,
> compost tea, and pretty much everything else that I might use in my
> life. It's not always available, in which case we must do the best we
> can. But there are always so many other factors that can affect personal
> anecdotes - including our own individual situations, as you note, but
> also our different levels of expertise, attention, expectations, and
> even chance.
> Hmm,... maybe I'll send an email to Dr. Chalker-Scott requesting an
> article about mycorrhizal fungi. I really would like to know what
> scientific research there's been on adding it to new plantings. (As you
> suggest, I suspect that it depends on WHERE you're doing the planting.)
> Bill
> Lincoln, NE (zone 5)
> -- 
> Last September I gave my Jack Russell terrier, Daisy, all of my money to
> invest. She promptly dug a hole in my backyard and buried my entire nest
> egg. Since then, I've beaten the S & P 500 by more than 50 percent. Now,
> you're probably wondering, what if your dog isn't as smart as Daisy? No
> worries. He's probably still smarter than you. - Andy Borowitz
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