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MYCORRHIZAE AND PLANT LIFE
Mycorrhiza is a natural function of plant life and is an important microorganism for sustaining the health of most plants.

Authored by:  B. Probiotics

This is a brief exposition of our philosophy about the importance of working with the natural things that exist in soils for those with a philosophical bent of mind.

Mycorrhizae, microscopic fungi of remarkable powers, form a symbiotic association with about 90% of all living plants and trees.  Fossilized Mycorrhizae show they were on shore to assist plants as they emerged from the oceans.  It might be fair to say that without this 'helper organism' our contemporary plant life would be far less diverse and adaptable. Their usefulness to plants is no less important today than eons ago.

It may even be said without exaggeration that Mycorrhizae constitute the foundational microbe in the sphere around the root. Strong evidence points to plants evolving with Mycorrhizae. An important review of research on Mycorrhizae described their importance:

Mycorrhizae are involved in many fundamental plant processes because they link plants and soil and induce changes in the host plant physiology. For plant roots to have Mycorrhizae is as normal and essential to the plant as for plant leaves to have chlorophyll.

Mycorrhizae nevertheless represent only one member of a vast society of organisms in the soil. There is much yet to know about Mycorrhizae and their relations with other members of the soil community, though decades of research at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service has produced much valuable scientific understanding of their actions on living plants and in the soil.

About 150 years ago the chemist Justus von Liebig overthrew the prevailing theory of humus, which held that the source of plant nutrition resided in humus. Humus is the end product of organic material that has been broken down by the action of micro-organisms in the soil, e.g., bacteria and fungi. From his work came the development of agrochemicals, especially the three main nutrients of living plants: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). He became highly celebrated for demonstrating that inorganic chemicals could make living plants thrive. He, however, did not take in account the long-term effects on the quality of our soil and water. He also overlooked the activity of soil dwelling micro-organisms. In a natural system they are the link between the soil and the plant. Through natural means they accomplish what inorganic chemicals provide but on a sustainable basis because they also remediate and replenish the soil.

Farmers acquired after World War I a wide range of soil protection and conditioning chemicals that would eliminate pests and pathogens in their soils. This led to the current practices wherein many farmers thoroughly fumigate their soils before they plant their crops. Then they make repeated applications of other toxic chemicals to suppress unwanted growth and eliminate indiscriminately a wide range of bacteria, fungi, viruses, insects, small mammals, and birds. Living processes are considered the enemy, the camp of pathogens, pests, and plagues.

We have seen that plants protected by strong immune systems and chock full of nutritious vitamins and minerals depend on a world of life under our feet. That same life enriches, conditions, improves and protects our soils by many complex interactions between those organisms (invisible and visible) and the soil.

Overuse of the chemical approach by contrast is extreme because it kills those very organisms that Nature herself created fit to perform those functions. Nutrition has declined in our diet because it first failed in our food crops. An unwanted legacy of polluted ground waters, poisoned and sanitized soils, and a thinning ozone layer has forced us to reconsider collaborating with Nature instead of trying to dominate her.

While we focus on the crucial missing link that serves as a bridge between soil and plant, we do not discard the use of chemicals where and when needed in appropriate quantities. All of us have a contribution to make. Farming is a three-legged stool. One leg stands on the quality of the Soil, the other on the plenitude and viability of beneficial life in the soil, and the third on the availability of essential and trace nutrients.

We emphasize Mycorrhizae among available micro-organism cooperators in the soil because they have a 350 million year old track record in creating fertile soils, and strong, productive plants. This is their most attractive and useful feature. They orchestrate a host of organisms beneficial to the plant where the Mycorrhizae take up residence in a plant's root. These same organisms, drawn to the table of plenty, created by the symbiotic relation between plant and Mycorrhizae, also help to defend the plant against unwanted intruders with a host of signals, chemicals and other deterrents.

The essential characteristic of a co-operator is the ability to elicit mutually beneficial behavior among normally competing organisms. Mycorrhizae achieve this co-operation, termed Mycorrhizal obligate symbiosis, admirably. They link the collective of plants, microbes, insects, and animals to each other for all our benefit. We also prime the pump with the addition of other highly beneficial bio-control agents and a unique carrier of peat and clay. Altogether this constitutes our BioVam Inoculum.

Mycorrhizae are more experienced in 'growing' plants than any other organism or creature alive today, including people who formulate inorganic fertilizers and highly toxic agrochemicals. It is time to tap into their abilities to grow plants that nourish, shelter and pleasure us all. That is our mission.

B. Probiotics, Inventor and Manufacturer of BioVam.

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