October 17, 2019 5 min read

It’s no longer a secret that combining certain beneficial bacteria and fungi together is more effective than applying a single bacteria or fungi. This is simply because specific combinations of bacteria and fungi survive on symbiotic interactions. With this relatively recent discovery, current industry trends have observed more brands introducing products combining bacteria and fungi. In most cases, they have been some variation of a combination of rhizobacteria (alias probiotics), mycorrhizae, and Trichoderma. But what most brands fail to realize is that a simple mixture of microbes is not the end to creating the optimal solution. There are so many more factors to be taken into consideration in order to enable these microbes to form sustainable, self-reproductive colonies – e.g., cultivating the healthiest and the most resilient microbial strains, making and keeping to the optimal (proportional) balance of different microbes species,  and resorting to other high quality organic additives to help microbes live longer life and yield higher propogation rate. Through years of research, development, and collaborations with growers, gardeners, landscapers, Microbial Applications has finally landed the optimal formula, which we have applied in our blend with the highest quality microbes.

In order to get empirical data on the effectiveness of our formula, we decided to carry out an experiment by a third-party laboratory to objectively compare and analyze Mikrobs to two of the most prominent microbial products used as supplements in the hydroponic and soil marketplace, used in growing various crops and plant species. The purpose of the study was to analyze the product as it is sold, along with running a 3 day test, similar to a basic hydroponic system. The test looked at overall counts and growth characteristics/levels throughout the 3 day test.

 

The three products tested were:

1.) Mikrobs. Microbial Applications, Suwanee, GA.

2.) M-Product, Fort Collins, CO. 

3.) R-Product, Fort Collins, CO.

The products were purchased through common retail channels.

 

The tests performed were:

1.) Total plate count (CFU) as received from supplier. Comparison to label cfu content.

2.) Initial isolation streaks from container to review overall colony morphology.

3.) Run products through a mock hydroponic system, using Roots Organic Buddha Grow Fertilizer, over a 3 day period.

A.) Perform tests every 12 hours (Time zero, 12 hour, 24 hour, 36 hour, 48 hour, 60 hour, 72 hour).
i.) Tests performed at each time period include:
-Hemocytometer testing for cfu counts
-Isolation streaks at 24 and 72 hour to look at microbial diversity and dominant species present.
-Pictures and videos taken under 1000x magnification to document microbial activity and diversity.

 

METHODS FOR EACH CORRESPONDING TEST

1.) Total Plate Count. Spread plate technique used to determine total plate count, directly out of the retail container.

 

Listed Count based on literature/ packaging/website

 

Actual Count

Mikrobs

4.81 x 108 cfu/g

4.73 x 108 cfu/g

R-Product

4.05 x 108 cfu/g

2.82 x 108 cfu/g

M-Product

2.0 x 108 cfu/ml

2.50 x 108 cfu/ml

 2.) Streak Plate to demonstrate colony morphology on agar plate. Samples pulled from retail container.

3.) A liquid solution was prepared to study and identify microbial activity of each test product. The liquid was prepared as a “hydroponic” solution, using “Roots Organic Buddha Grow Fertilizer”, manufactured by Aurora Innovations in Eugene, OR.

The prepared liquid was placed in 100ml flasks and placed in an incubated shaker (low rpm) at 37C. Flasks were inoculated with each of the test ingredients at their recommended label rates. Samples were pulled at 12 hour intervals for 3 days. At each interval samples were pulled for counts and pictures and videos were taken to show activity.

 

INOCULATION RATES (per product label recommended dosage)

Product

Label Dosage

First Test Dosage

Subsequent Dosages(every 12 hours)

Buddha Grow

30ml/gal

0.8ml/100ml

NA

M-Product

0.6ml/gal

0.04ml/100ml

0.02ml/100ml

R-Product

2.5g/gal

0.14g/100ml

0.07g/100ml

Mikrobs

2.5g/gal

0.14g/100ml

0.07g/100ml

 

ACTIVITY 

Samples were pulled every 12 hours for 3 days (zero, 12, 24, 36, 48,60 and 72 hour) . At each sample, pictures were taken and counts (via a hymocytometer) were measured. Listed below are pictures at each test point. Videos provided digitally.

 M-Product --- Zero Hours Mikrobs --- Zero Hours R-Product --- Zero Hours
M-Product --- 12 Hours Mikrobs --- 12 Hours R-Product --- 12 Hours
M-Product --- 24 Hours Mikrobs --- 24 Hours R-Product --- 24 Hours
M-Product --- 36 Hours Mikrobs --- 36 Hours R-Product --- 36 Hours
M-Product --- 48 Hours Mikrobs --- 48 Hours R-Product --- 48 Hours
M- Product --- 60 Hours Mikrobs --- 60 Hours R-Product --- 60 Hours
M-Product --- 72 Hours Mikrobs --- 72 Hours R-Product --- 72 Hours

 

COMMENTS:

  • Crystalline structures, particularly in early stage pictures, are nutrient sources from the Buddha Grow Fertilizers.
  • Mikrobs shows microbial activity as early as 12 hour, with both spore and vegetative bacteria.
  • At 36 hours, both Mikrobs and R-Product show active bacterial cultures (spores and rod), with fungal spores present (spherical shape). M-Product shows moderate activity.
  • At 60 hours Mikrobs has active fungal growth with hyphae present. R-Product has good levels of fungal spores, but no hyphae. Good presence of vegetative bacteria (rod shape) in Mikrobs and R-Product.
  • At 72 hours Mikrobs has high levels of hyphae, showing good fungal growth. R-Product has high levels of fungal spores, but no vegetative activity.
  • At 72 hours M-Product shows moderate levels of bacteria colonizing around food source.

 

HEMOCYTOMETER:

Every 12 hours, samples were pulled and cfu levels were measured using a hemocytometer. This instrument is an accepted tool to measure microbial activity in an active culture, providing real time data at the time of sampling.

Hour

M-Product

                       R-Product

Mikrobs

0

2.00E+07

2.40E+07

2.80E+07

12

2.00E+07

4.00E+07

5.00E+07

24

3.10E+07

6.50E+08

8.60E+08

36

4.60E+07

9.30E+08

2.10E+09

48

8.80E+07

3.10E+09

4.40E+09

60

5.10E+08

4.50E+09

5.80E+09

72

7.60E+08

6.10E+09

8.10E+09

 

ISOLATION STREAKS:

Isolation streaks were performed at 24 hour and 72 hour. This is the process of pulling a sample and streaking the liquid onto an agar plate and allowing the cultures present to grow up over 24 hours. The purpose of performing such test is visually see the general activity and colony morphology of the microbes present.

 

24 HOUR ISOLATION STREAK:

 

72 HOUR ISOLATION STREAK:

 

COMMENTS:

  • Both Mikrobs and R-Product show high levels of bacterial growth, with multiple colony morphologies.
  • Mikrobs shows good fungal presence (large cloudy areas), which are absent in the other two products.
  • M-Product shows some, but limited bacterial activity.

 

CONCLUSION & TAKEAWAY 

Empirical research, testing, and data illustrates Mikrob's superior product and performance. It is important for claims to be backed up with evidence and scientific data, and we at Microbial Applications will continue to strive for the highest level of scientific and microbial excellence. 


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