[NAFEX] P.S.: mychorizal fungal rip off?

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Sat Mar 28 12:56:04 EDT 2009

On Mar 28, 2009, at 11:52 AM, Road's End Farm wrote:

> If you're trying to produce cold fusion, things may be clearer. 
> However, in the area of human nutrition, there are huge numbers of 
> variables, many of them almost impossible to control for. Different 
> people digest things differently. Different people have different 
> genetics, different activity levels, different exposure to other 
> environmental factors, different other items in their diets. The item 
> being tested is also highly variable: different strains of 
> blueberries, blueberries grown under different conditions (climate, 
> particular weather, farming techniques), blueberries harvested at 
> different degrees of ripeness, different weather, even possibly at 
> different times of day; blueberries treated differently after harvest 
> according to huge numbers of other possible variables -- all of these 
> factors can affect the balance of the nutritional compounds in the 
> specific blueberries used in the study.

Just to add: most of the above does also apply to the mycchorizal fungi 
question, for similar reasons: while we don't have humans as the test 
subjects, we do have huge numbers of variables that we so far don't 
well understand: results might well vary depending on the strain of 
fungi; other factors varying the fungi themselves; the crop and 
particular variety of crop inoculated; the soils being inoculated (soil 
type, previous management factors affecting the soil); the overall 
climate; the specific weather during the study; the pre-existing 
microbial and macrobial life in the soil; the timing of inoculation 
versus the growth stage of the crop and the time of year; the 
particular improvement being desired by the farmer (better yield? 
better flavor? better nutritional value? long term survival of the 
crop? etc.)

Until recently, as I understand it, very little work has been done in 
regards to the various organisms that can be found living in soil, and 
even less on the interrelations among this huge number of highly 
variable organisms and among them and likely crop plants. It's a huge 
and complicated field. The work needs to be done; but expecting fast 
and clear results, at least past the stage of "this is how you can kill 
everything in the top 6" of your field" or "inoculating your peas with 
rhizobia is probably useful", is unreasonable. People claiming that 
they have definite and clear answers should be regarded with caution, 
unless they're making it clear they're addressing a very limited area 
of the subject; and probably even then, as one of the things we don't 
know is to what extent what appears to be such limited area are 
actually affected by factors outside those limits.

Whether the work with mycchorizal fungi has approached the level of 
peas and rhizobia isn't entirely clear to me -- it may have done so 
with some species in some soils under some growing conditions. This 
wouldn't mean that such information would automatically transfer to all 
species in all soils.

Now I really need to go get something else done, sorry about the run-on 
sentences --

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly
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