Mycorrhizal Fungi

This is NOT my work, I would like to thank MicrobeMan from another grow forum for this wealth of knowledge. I am but a middleman who wanted to share some information on a topic I am very interested in with a forum that has been very kind to me.
My hope is that this will spark some interesting conversation in our pepper community as it has with the cannabis growers, I am just at the tip of the iceberg learning about this incredible stuff and will try to contribute more as I myself learn more. I am interested in the fungi's affect on our capsicum species and growth cycles. On any species of particular significance. On WHEN to innoculate a pepper plant. If it's good practice to get the fungus started in the soil prior to the pepper via an alternative host -- say clover for example. Which consumer PRODUCT has the BEST SPREAD FOR USE WITH PEPPER PLANTS?? Etc. etc. etc.
So without further adieu:
I am beginning this thread in an effort to clear up some of the misconceptions which have been circulating concerning mycorrhizal fungi and to point out some facts, pertaining to its usefulness. This is done to the best of my ability and knowledge and as in all things, I can be wrong or there can be information not yet available. I am completely open to correction, input and questions.

Because this forum deals with the cultivation of Cannabis (hemp), I will refrain from spending a lot of time on mycorrhizal fungi other than endomycorrhizal. Briefly ectomycorrhizal fungi predominantly form associations with certain types of trees. An example of this is truffles which form symbiotic, mutualistic associations with trees such as Hazel Nut, Holly Oak and English Oak. In the ‘ecto’ group there is a sub-group which is referred to as ectendomycorrhizal fungi. It is merely a description for fungi which displays both ecto & endo traits. [outside & inside]

Typically ectomycorrhizal fungal hyphae surround and encapsulate the roots of the plant they are colonizing and exchange nutrients by proximity, while endomycorrhizal fungal hyphae enter the cells of the roots to exchange nutrients. Fungal hyphae are microscopic strands which grow from fungal spores, hyphal complexes and mushrooms. Many of them combine to create fungal mycelia, visible to the human eye.

Two sub-groups of endomycorrhizal fungi are Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi (the most common and what we are concerned with here) and Ericoid Endomycorrhizal fungi. In the latter there are two additional sub-groups Arbutoid Endomycorrhizal fungi and Monotropoid Endomycorrhizal fungi. There is no current research I know of indicating that these are of value in supporting the growth of cannabis/hemp.

There is some research indicating that there is another type of fungi which may be mycorrhizal with plants. It is labeled ‘dark septate endophyte(s)’. It is my hypothesis that some of the species of fungi imperfecti grown out of [vermi]compost into compost tea are this type of fungi but that is yet to be researched. [the term ‘fungi imperfecti’ is used in this case to describe species of fungi lacking a (so far discovered) sexual stage and typical fruiting body]

The word mycorrhiza has been tossed around willy nilly and there has been enough money ass hype spewed to choke a hundred horses. Mycorrhiza is not the fungi. It is the word used to describe the symbiosis or mutualistic association between root and fungi. Mycorrhizae is plural of this. The term to describe the type of fungi itself is mycorrhizal fungi.

We all know that there is a plethora of products on the market with super attractive labeling and names. Super Ecto Screaming Eagle Myco, is fictional but representative of the crap one is confronted with. In reality if you are serious about getting endomycorrhizal fungi to colonize the roots of your plants you should know that, according to current science of which I am aware, there are only two known endomycorrhizal fungi species which colonize the roots of cannabis/hemp.

They are Glomus Intraradices and Glomus Mosseae. If you are looking for the maximum potential to colonize roots of this species, your chances go up with the higher spore/propagule count per gram. Unless you have a mix specifically formulated I know of no product which includes only these two fungal species. Because Intraradices has been shown (through studies) to be a relatively easy colonizer of most endo-type plants world wide, it is logical to consider using it as a stand alone mycorrhizal inoculant (if you live in North America), because;
1/ It is produced in North America
2/ one can get (in bulk) powder based products at a spore/propagule count of 3200 per gram 1,452,800 per pound or a liquid product at 2,000,000 spores/propagules per gram (available as agricultural products > . To get Glomus Mosseae at such densities would be very challenging. [I’m hoping that this will be available in smaller packages in 2012, at least higher than 200 spores/gram]
Your best bet to get colonization is to apply the spores to the seeds or prepared cutting and/or the roots at planting time. There are apparently some studies showing that it can take up to 6 weeks for the full benefits of infection to be measurable which has led some to conclude that endomycorrhizal fungi is not that useful in the normally fast paced growth 'pattern' of indoor grown cannabis. This is by all means not even close to being 100% factual. I have yet to satisfy myself of this issue one way or the other, having read some studies indicating early infection/colonization. [I will attempt to update the thread later if I learn something relevant to this]

The foregoing is not intended to imply that there are only two types of fungi which will ever associate with cannabis. Far from it. There are many species of mycorrhizal fungi, yet unidentified and as usual scientists are only scraping the surface in the research in this area. There may well be fungal species growing in the field behind your house which are indigenous endomycorrhizal fungi (or dark septate endophytes or…?) which may associate with cannabis/hemp just fine. What I have outlined is simply your most logical route to success if you are going to buy the spores.

The following is a post by Eco I copied from the other thread which nicely outlines the mycorrhizal species available on the market. I’ve included the post which appeared prior to his as well for cohesiveness.
Posted by Ccoastal;
"That's like saying oxycodone and percocet are the same thing for having the same ingredients. It's all about the formulation. "

Posted by Eco12;
"If you're talking about mycos, it's not necessarily accurate. It really comes down to spore count (propagules in many cases here in the US), and types of mycos.

The BioAg VAM contains 7 different myco species, with g. intraradices making up the majority of it.

The RTI product (Mykos) contains glomus intraradices at 80 spores per CC.

The BioAg VAM contains 104 propagules per gram.

Got this from Dr. Mike:

Glomus mosseae
Glomus mosseae is one of the most researched and widely distributed endomycorrhizal fungi. Numerous studies have determined the importance of G. mosseae

• Increased Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) uptake
• Enzyme activity increases access micro nutrients
• Protects roots
• Stimulates root development
• Improved performance of woody perennials
• Keeps root systems healthy
• Increases fruiting and flowering
• Increases crop yields

Glomus aggregatum
Studies have determined the importance of the endomycorrhizal fungus G. aggregatum:

• Improves plant performance in sandy soils
• Protects plant roots
• Effective root colonization with time release fertilizers
• Tolerant of high fertility levels
• Improves performance of Palms, Fruit trees.

Glomus intraradices
Glomus intraradices is the most widespread and researched endomycorrhizal fungi. Literally thousands of studies have determined the importance of G. intraradices:

• Increases nitrogen and phosphorus uptake
• Increases crop yields
• Protects plant roots
• Can access organic forms of nitrogen and phosphorus
• Improves growth and performance of turf grasses, agricultural crops and nursery stock
• Improves plant resistance to a wide array of soil toxicities
• Drought protection
• Salt tolerance

Glomus etunicatum
Glomus etunicatum is also a widespread and well researched endomycorrhizal fungus. Numerous studies have determined the importance of G. etunicatum:
• Very effective in agricultural soils
• Promotes root health
• Greatly improves drought tolerance
• Increases mineral uptake
• Effective in mine reclamation
• Increases crop yields
• Flowering increases
• Increases enyzme activity
• Improved plant establishment

Glomus deserticola
Glomus deserticola is common in semi arid and arid conditions . Studies have determined the importance of G. deserticola:
• Very effective in reducing drought stress
• Promotes salt tolerance
• Increases P nutrition
• Increases crop yields
• Increases N fixation activity

Glomus clarum
Glomus clarum is distributed widely. Numerous studies have determined the importance of G. clarum:
• Protects against heavy metal toxicity
• Promotes salt tolerance
• Increases P nutrition
• Improved growth of grain crops
• Increases N fixation activity
• Increases crop yields
• Well adapted to a wide variety of plants and soil conditions

Glomus monosporum
Glomus monosporum is widely distributed in mediterranean climates. Studies have determined the importance of G. monosporum:
• Active during periods of low water availability
• Promotes root rot tolerance
• Increases P nutrition
• Improved fruit production
• Increases production of vegetable crops

Gigaspora margarita
Gigaspora margarita is common in tropical and subtropical areas. Studies have determined the importance of G. margarita:

• Increases P nutrition
• Improved growth of tropical and subtropical fruits

Paraglomus brasilianum
Paraglomus brasilianum is common in rehabilitation of disturbed soils. Studies have determined the importance of P. brasilianum:

• Resistance to soil toxicity
• Improved root enzyme activity
• Enhances soil remediation

Pisolithus tinctorius
Pisolithus tinctorius is a puffball species that is widespread across an array of diverse habitats and ectomycorrhizal host plants. We use a blend of several ecotypes in our MycoApply® formulations which assures rapid mycorrhizal formations across a variety of environmental conditions. Documented benefits include:

• Rapid early growth of inoculated tree species
• Increases feeder root production
• Tolerant of hot, dry conditions
• Amelioration of heavy metal toxicity
• Inhibits soil pathogen growth and plant infection
• Benefits plants in disturbed environments and acid soils

Rhizopogon spp is a truffle species that has numerous special qualities important in a soil inoculation program. The Rhizopogon groups of R. villosulus, R.luteolus, R amylopogon and R fulvigleba targets a wide range of ectomycorrhizal tree and shrub species.

• Promotes soil structure
• Tolerant of cold soil temperatures
• Tolerant of a broad pH range
• High levels of enzyme activity benefiting nutrient and micronutrient acquisition
• Can utilize organic forms of nitrogen
• Protects seedlings against moisture stress
• Promotes successful plant establishment and growth

Scleroderma is a semi hypogeous genus that is widespread across an array of diverse habitats and ectomycorrhizal host plants. We use two top performing mycorrhizal formulations in our MycoApply products S.cepa and S. citrinum. Documented benefits include:

• Rapid early growth of inoculated tree species
• Improves N and P uptake
• Increases feeder root production
• Prolific rhizomorph producer improves performance in hot, dry conditions
• Amelioration of heavy metal toxicity
• Improves root health
• Improves restoration of degraded soils

Laccaria is a mushroom genus that is also widespread across an array of diverse habitats and host plants. We use two top performing mycorrhizal speciess in our MycoApply products L. laccata and L. bicolor. Documented benefits include:

• Improves survival and growth inoculated tree species
• Improves N and P uptake
• Increases feeder root production
• Protects roots
• Tolerant of high fertility levels
• Decreases drought stress

Based on what I've found out so far (and I think I need to chat with the RTI people and also the Bio Ag folks), this is my understanding.

1. While propagules and spores are different entities, in this instance when Mycorrhizal Applications refers to propagules, they are referencing spores but must call them propagules in order to meet licensing standards in all 50 States. Dr. Mike stated that they do not count propagules that are not spores, because he agreed that they would be largely ineffective.

2. It is very difficult to compare myco products!


In the case of soil biology and diversity, I feel that having additional myco species beyond just g. intraradices would be beneficial. I would like to see some evidence that these myco species are in direct competition with each other when colonizing a root hair. It seems logical to me that it's more likely the competition with be with other micro-organisms in the soil, and survival and colonization would become more successful with a diversity of myco species, as certain species would be more successful in different environmental conditions, with variables like soil temperature, existing soil biology, moisture levels, and soil structure all having some influence on colonization.

Again, the above paragraph is my OPINION. I'm more than happy to admit that I could be wrong.

Interestingly enough, I have it from a reliable source that all the g. intraradices is coming from Premier in Canada and all these companies are just repackaging and relabeling it.

Additionally, more companies are buying from Mycorrhizal Applications and then re-labeling further and marking it up.

I know for sure the guys above get their myco from Mycorrhizal Applications. (they state on the website that they make it themselves)

There's a liquid product at the first link that has significantly higher spore counts than any of the products we have been discussing.

Here's a good article on mycorrhiza: Primer.pdf
End of Eco12’s post
Thankfully there are people like David Doudes who have outlined for growers methods of producing one’s own local mycorrhizal spores/propagules. Here are some links and attached PDF.

Another consideration if one is contemplating purchasing one of the myco-mixes on the market, is if it contains Trichoderma spores. Because Trichoderma is so much cheaper, the spore count for it in these mixes usually eclipses all the other organisms put together. Unlike endomycorrhizal fungi, Trichoderma requires no root contact to sprout and grow. In addition to this, its favorite food is…..wait for it…..wait for it….other fungi! So you guess what happens if you inoculate your roots with a mix that contains 10,000 spores per gram of Trichoderma and 100 spores per gram total of other fungal species which are slow to sprout.

In my opinion, in most cases, "Yummy" says the Trichoderma as it gobbles down the few sprouting mycorrhizal spores. But, you say, "I get such incredible results when I use ‘Super Ecto Screaming Eagle Myco’. So there!"

Well ya, Trichoderma is a great root/plant protector and there have been studies indicating that it enhances nutrient uptake. Remember the studies indicating it might take a long time for endomycorrhizal to effectively colonize roots? Maybe if you are doing a fast vegetation then kicking into flower Trichoderma is your answer. Maybe it is all that is working effectively in your Screaming Eagle stuff. Maybe it is incredibly cheap to buy elsewhere.

The screaming Eagle people will tell you; Look! Trichoderma is ubiquitous in the soil and grows naturally in conjunction with mycorrhizal spores all over the world. At 10,000 to 100? Freeze dried? Hello.

Am I trying to discourage you from attempting to colonize your cannabis roots with endomycorrhizal fungi? Totally no. I even believe I had success at this by inoculating cuttings and roots as previously mentioned but by also keeping my soil alive and undisturbed (mostly) in between crops. In this way the hyphae and spores remaining in the soil were/are there waiting for the new fresh roots. There are some who now are using companion planting or living mulch, like clover to keep live roots going in the soil at all times. Just be sure you select a plant which is mycorrhizal with the same species of fungi. Not only does this support mycorrhizal networks but keeps the microbial population buzzing along. I wish I had thought of it for my indoor plantation (long gone). I do realize this is not practical for all growers, as it calls for a fairly large volume of soil to preserve it as a living entity.

In reality it appears there are 2 to 5 labs and multiple middlemen wearing lab coats in this world getting extremely rich off everyone’s ignorance over the microbial craze. Wanna spot a phony? If they say they have a product with bennies, microherd or beneficial microorganisms or soluble mycorrhizae, chances are 99% they are full of it.
If they cannot describe the function of the microbes they are selling or cannot explain how nutrients are cycled, even rudimentarily, walk away (or run).
Again, huge thanks to the original author MicrobeMan, and in the name of sharing knowledge I hope you do not mind the copy paste.
I also relinked the links!
If this is a faux pas on THP please forgive my ignorance. Link to the original:
Very good read. I have had a hard time finding mychorizal fungi for sale down here in australia, but have been brewing quick cook batches of aact, which I believe is a more fungal brew. And my patch seems to be enjoying it. Thanks for sharing this info, it straightened out a lot of which I did not understand.
I am also working on a little collection of .pdf s on the subject.
I do not know how to or if I can upload them to the thread?
If impossible I'd be willing to email or do a torrent or something if there is interest.
Great post, man! Just checked out my Jobe's Organics tomato and vegetable fertilizer. Looks pretty solid, actually. Doesn't seem to be that Screamin' Eagle crap with the predatory fungi in it...