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Fukuoka on microorganisms (Was: vortex pump)

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  • Rex Teague
    ... Good heavens such impiety! My disenchantment was cemented by the snotty response I received to my suggestion at newsletter 2 or 3 that the essence be
    Message 1 of 1 , May 11, 2002
      On 11 May 02, Frank Teuton wrote:

      > However, I will say that I am frustrated that Elaine seems to be more
      > tied in to manufacturers of teamakers than to the core process of
      > teamaking and the paramaters that would help us all to make good tea
      > without going more deeply into hock. I expect that this alliance from
      > the inception has kept us from doing more in the DIY department.

      Good heavens such impiety! My disenchantment was cemented by
      the snotty response I received to my suggestion at newsletter 2 or 3
      that the essence be placed at the beginning of the newsletter rather
      than woven into the commercials. 8-]

      > Like Jose's, it makes good bac tea, but had poor fungal aspects. And
      > with chunky tea, such as if the sock falls in the vat, (bin and dun
      > it), the thing can get pretty clogged up.

      In some quarters Masanobu Fukuoka will fall into Jose's 'eco-icon'
      definition but in my book he just makes darn good sense. To quote a
      little from Fukuoka's "The Natural Way of Farming"...

      "I would like to give one more example of just how amazing nature is
      when we take even a causal look at what transpires there. I
      remember searching once, while at the Kochi Perfecture Agricultural
      Testing Centre, for a benefical bacterium with which to prepare
      compost from straw and brush. I needed an organism capable of
      quickly decomposing straw and other coarse plant material. This was
      something like the benefical bacteria scientists search for today to
      convert garbage and sludge into artifical manure for use as fertiliser.

      I collected refuse from garbage sinkholes as well as cattle, hog,
      chicken, rabbit and sheep droppings. From these, I isolated and
      cultured microorganisms, obtaining samples of many different
      bacteria, fungi, slime moulds and yeast. I was able in this way to
      collect a large number of microbes suited to preparing compost. I
      then inoculated samples of each of these into straw in test tubes or
      within concrete enclosures and observed the rotting rates.

      Later, however, I realised that such an experiment was really quite
      worthless. To one concerned with how long things take, an
      investigation such as this may seem useful, but a closer look reveals
      that nature makes use of far better methods of treating garbage and
      preparing compost.

      Rather than going to all the trouble of isolating benefical microbes and
      inoculating straw with this "fermentation promoter", all I had to do
      was scatter a handful of chicken droppings or clumps of soil over the
      straw. Not only was this the quickest way, it also gave the most
      completely rotted compost.

      There is no call for making a lot of fuss over "microbial" and
      "enzymatic" farming methods. The following transformations take
      place on a rice straw casually dropped onto the earth.

      The straw draws a lot of flies and other small insects that lay eggs
      from which maggots and other larva soon emerge. Before this
      happens however, rice blast disease, leaf blotch and rot causing fungi
      already present on the rice leaves, spread rapidly over the straw but
      spider mites are soon crawling over this fungal growth. Next, different
      microbes begin to proliferate at once. The most common include
      yeast, blue mould, bread mould and trichoderma fungi, which destroy
      the pathogens and begin to decompose the straw. At this point, the
      number and types of organisms drawn into the straw increase. These
      include nematodes that feed on the fungi, bacteria that feed on the
      nematodes, mites that consume the bacteria, predaceous mites that
      feed on these mites, and also spiders, ground beetles, earwigs, mole
      crickets and slugs. These and other organisms mingle and live in the
      straw, which undergoes a succession of "tenants" as it gradually

      Once the fibrin-decomposing fungi run out of food, they stop growing
      and are supplanted by lipoid- and lignin-decomposing bacteria which
      feed on the fungi and the scraps left over by the fungi. Before long,
      parasitism and cannibalism sets in among the aerobic bacteria, and
      these are gradually replaced by anaerobic bacteria. Lactic acid
      bacteria round off the process with lactic acid fermentation, at which
      point all trace of the straw disappears. This is just the briefest of
      looks at the total decompostion of a single piece of straw on the
      ground over a period of several days.

      Microbiologists are well aware of how rapidly and perfectly the
      process of decomposition and rotting break down garbage in the
      natural world. Yet man, believing that he has to make intense use of
      beneficial microbes to speed up putrefaction or that he must raise the
      temperature to promote bacteria growth, prepares compost. He
      should stop and consider how worthless and undesirable such efforts
      are. Frankly, anything that he does just disturbs the rapid and perfect
      nature processes.

      People must not forget, in looking at the rotting of a straw, at the
      fertiliser response, at soil improvement and at all the other processes
      that take place in nature, that what man knows is only the minute,
      infinitesimal part of the natural order. In addition to the very visible
      lead roles are an infinite number of supporting roles that perform
      important yet unknown functions. If man jumps onto centre stage
      and begins giving out directions like a know-nothing director, the play
      will be ruined. When something goes wrong in nature, the biosystem
      changes course. Unlike in a factory where the damage may consist
      only of a broken gear, in nature a disruption gives rise to an unending
      series of repercussions."

      E & O E

      Cheerio... Rex

      ps: I like it when you ruffle Alan's feathers! ;-)
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