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Old 03-02-2017, 04:41 PM #1
Microbeman
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Root Exudates

Root Exudates

A while back I read this statement on the internet forums;
"I have only been looking into root exudates a couple of years now, but not something that I dwell on as I have good root systems."

This made me realize that there is a large presence of misunderstanding about the function of root excretions as they relate to nutrient uptake and how they form the basis of natural (organic) growth.

I have written brief statements on the subject previously when discussing the microbial nutrient loop in the rhizosphere (root zone), plant control of homeostasis & nutrient provision and the microbial hierarchy of living soil.

I read through some of the more recent publications regarding root exudations with hopes new research might help me to give a simple explanation of the nutrient cycle related to organic acids secreted by roots and microbes. No such luck.

There are some advanced studies but they actually reveal more complexity and an overlapping role of the molecular compounds exuded by the roots into the soil. The (basic) exudates include organic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates (sugars) and hormones.

These influence many functions from nutrient assimilation/provision to pathogen & pest control to growth promotion or prevention of neighboring plants. There is new research which seems to validate some hypotheses I proposed around 10 years ago concerning plant roots discharging various molecular compounds (structures) to feed or attract specific microorganisms which in turn process (provide) specific nutrients or services.

In this small article I'll limit the discussion to exudates involved in the acquisition of nutrients into the soil solution where they can be up-taken by roots (plants). I'll be attempting to express this as simply as possible for the sake of the reader and the author. Please let me know if or where I have erred.

Bear in mind that this information is not given as a growing prescription but only to help growers comprehend what is going on and to be somewhat supportive of living soil horticultural systems.

Function In The Soil

To get an important definition out of the way, in this write-up, soil solution is that moisturized film adjacent to roots where nutrients become bio-available. This zone can be in constant flux as certain nutrients enter into it, mostly ionized and are immediately up-taken by roots and microorganisms.

Most growers have now been made aware of the meaning of CEC (cation exchange capacity), wherein positive charged cations are adhered to negatively charged organic matter or clay particles in the soil. The greater the CEC the greater the capacity to store these types of nutrients.

Furthermore, many growers know these nutrients can be released into the soil solution as (bio-available) ions by hydrogens (bonds) correlating to the positive charge (number of electrons lost) bonded to the nutrient (cation) molecule. This is the cation exchange where nutrient ions are made available for plant root uptake. This is the power of hydrogen. Indeed the power or potential of hydrogen in the soil solution is what pH is.

What growers may not be aware of is, where these hydrogens come from. Two major sources of them are soil microbes (bacteria, archaea & fungi) and roots. They are part of the molecular structures known as organic acids which are one of the root exudates. I'm only going to attempt discussing the nutrient acquisition role of organic acids, however they serve a number of functions, including soil pedogenosis (or development) and even as nutrients themselves.

Organic acids play a major role in nutrient acquisition for the plant, however as mentioned earlier there are some other compounds at play in the scenario. There is some cross over between function of organic acids, amino acids and carbohydrates wherein each sometimes is microbial food or functions to release nutrients. There are also still many unknowns. For the purposes of the situation I'm discussing, organic acids are more nutrient release agents, while amino acids and carbohydrates are more microbial food (attractant).

Please know that my interpretation is open to criticism as I endeavor to simplify the complex. I am encouraged that the unfolding pictures viewed in my mind some years back have been modestly validated.

In simple terms the plant itself excretes the organic acids which free up desired nutrients stored in soil and organic matter but it also excretes carbohydrates and amino acids that attract and feed bacteria, archaea and fungi which pump out these same (or differing) organic acids. In this way the nutrient economy multiplies for the plant, with less energy expenditure by the plant.

To try to understand what occurs when organic acids, exuded by roots and microbes, displace cations (nutrients) held by soil particles, let's first look at the net charges comprising these nutrient compounds.

Common Positively Charged Soil Cations
(can be nutrients, micronutrients and [neutral/harmful] )

calcium (Ca+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons; 2 hydrogens required to release
magnesium (Mg+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons; 2 hydrogens required to release
potassium (K+) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 1 electron; 1 hydrogen required to release
ammonium (NH4+) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 4 electrons; 4 hydrogens required to release

and so on.....

iron (Fe+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons
manganese (Mn+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons
zinc (Zn+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons
copper (Cu+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons
cobalt (Co+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons
nickel (Ni+2) - net positive charge; ionized by losing 2 electrons

[aluminium (Al+3) - is toxic to most plant species at <5.5 pH soil solution]
[hydrogen (H+) - functions to affect pH]
[sodium (Na+) - rarely used as a nutrient; plays a role in pH and osmosis;]

Then look at the number of hydrogens bonded to the organic acids, considering that an equal number of hydrogens is required for the number of electrons to alter the compounds in order to release them as ions into the soil solution.

Some Common Organic Acids
(excreted by plants and microorganisms)

acetic acid, CH3COOH - total of 4 hydrogens
citric acid, H2C6H6O7 - total of 8 hydrogens
fumaric acid, C4H4O4 - total of 4 hydrogens
formic acid, HCOOH - total of 2 hydrogens
oxalic acid, H2C2O4 - total of 2 hydrogens
malic acid, H2C4H4O5 - total of 6 hydrogens
malonic acid, CH2(COOH)2 - total of 4 hydrogens
propionic acid, CH3CH2COOH - total of 6 hydrogens
succinic acid, C4H6O4 - total of 6 hydrogens
tartaric acid, H2C4H4O6 - total of 6 hydrogens
gluconic acid, C6H12O7 - total of 12 hydrogens

For example, by looking at the two lists above we can estimate that citric acid could potentially release 4 calcium ions, if citric acid is specific to calcium and all 8 hydrogens are exchangeable (8 divided by 2).

I've not researched information showing the specific combinations of organic acids exuded by roots and microbes to implement the corresponding release of specific nutrients into the soil solution (excepting citric acid mobilizing phosphorus & calcium). However one can see by looking at the numbers of hydrogens bonded to the various molecular structures of organic acids that there are corresponding positive charges [or numbers of electrons] on nutrient compounds which can be exchanged for (or knocked off) to ionize the molecule released into the soil solution.

"The process of gaining or losing electrons from a neutral atom or molecule is called ionization." ~ [boundless.com]

There are also anions which are negatively charged nutrient molecules. These are not stored in most soil types.

In most soils anions are mobile through the soil solution and are supplied ongoing by fertilizers or as they are degraded from organic matter and minerals and held within bodies of microbes until excreted or otherwise transported to the plant. There is involvement of organic acids in acquisition of anions in similar fashion to cations, particularly of insolubilized phosphate.

Common Soil Anions

chlorine (Cl-) - net negative charge; ionized by gaining 1 electron
nitrate (NO3-) - net negative charge; ionized by gaining 3 electrons
sulfide (S2-) - net negative charge; ionized by gaining 2 electrons
sulfate (SO42-) ....and so on
phosphate (PO43-).
molybdenum (MoO4)-

The Role of Predators

Beyond or on top of this method of nutrient assimilation is another step up of the nutrient economy initiated by the plant. Earlier I mentioned the plant attracts and feeds bacteria, archaea and fungi (with excretions of carbohydrates and amino acids) to in turn release the same organic acids. These organisms feed on some of the ions as well so one could think that the plant is stupid to encourage this competition, however as the bacteria and archaea multiply, protozoa (flagellates, ciliates & amoebae) are attracted to the rhizosphere (soil solution).

They begin feasting on the bacteria & archaea and dividing as quickly as every two hours [or even less?]. Nature's clever hedge fund has set up a system wherein the energy requirement for these soil protozoa is 10 to 40 percent of what they intake. What (energy) they expel is 60 to 90% of a multiplied ionic form nutrient, of course bio-available to the roots of the plant. Bacterial feeding nematodes attracted to the grazing area contribute similar nutrient value although with a lesser return on investment.

The fungi serve to degrade matter and materials to a form available to other organisms and some form mycorrhizal or endophytic relationships with the plant.

****************************** ***
To Ponder;
Does the predation cycle use a similar exchange system as we see in the cation exchange between plant roots and soil/clay particles? Perhaps in reverse so the microorganism's needs vary from those of the plant?
****************************** ****

These cycles can take place for up to 24 hours (or more?) or may terminate within a couple of hours.

****************************** *****
To Ponder;
Because of all this hydrogen spilling into the soil solution, I am led to realize that the pH must fluctuate in different areas and at different times according to the needs of the plant, organisms & soil. If using natural growing techniques, hypothetically this is controlled by interplay between root excretions and microbial activity. I therefore wonder what effect, control of the overall pH in soil has beyond a gross scale target where soil is very acidic or alkaline.
Can one accurately check pH levels in the soil solution and is the time/nutrient phase it is tested in, a factor?
****************************** *****

Boron, The Weird One

I've got to mention briefly that during researching for this little essay, I discovered a number of seemingly contradictory and incorrect (outdated) statements about boron and its assimilation by plants. Boron originates from cosmic rays along with two other elements found on earth lithium and beryllium. [This makes for some interesting reading for those interested; think black holes; or God's pixie dust]

Most information seemed to state that boron was just there, mobile in the soil and taken up easily if present and toxic if there is too much. My first clue was that boron (B2O3) carries a mix of positive and negative ions so requires more energy to ionize it to a form assimilated by roots. I could not resolve within my puny brain logic, how it is taken into the plant.

Some further looking revealed that it is actually the borate ion (BO3-) or boric acid (H3BO3) which is the form of boron taken up from the soil as an uncharged molecule. These are mostly stored in humus materials of organic matter. They are moved across (through) the cell wall membrane via protein transporters. These proteins were revealed through research within the last 16 years or so. [another fun research project for some]

So guess what? Uptake of boron is not a passive undertaking. It is regulated by plants. You might ask, then how do plants acquire boron toxicity from soils with high levels of the boron constituents? One needs to ponder again whether this could be the result of human interference in one form or another.

Closing Statement

Like I said earlier, this is not meant to be any form of growing prescription. I've been accused many times of saying that growing is all about organic matter and microorganisms and even that one must have a microscope to grow adequately. Not so.

I've always stated that I'm just about trying to explain what is going on, to the best of my ability and when it comes to gardening, I say, be all inclusive so long as you are doing no harm. It's not about minerals OR microbes and compost, it's about minerals, organic matter AND microbes.

Many growers are in it to push the envelope, some for fun, like giant pumpkin growers, some for profit or bragging rights, like cannabis growers looking for those giant dense 'buds' [pot language for flowers]. The thing is; giant pumpkin growers don't eat their produce (I think).

Many have learned that natural growing produces higher quality vegetables, fruit and herbs (equivalent of nature farming, not the commercial meaning of natural). If you want your tomatoes or cannabis to increase in yield go with caution and read, watch and listen. Lest we forget the tobacco growers who thought phosphorus fertilizer was their key to the vault; the price was high levels of polonium 210 and lead 210 stored in tissues of glandular trichomes which some hypothesize is the true cause of lung cancer in smokers.

I hope I've managed to convey at least the basic function of root exudates for nutrient acquisition and that with natural growing the plant is not a sponge to just suck up the ratios of ingredients provided. One must just ensure that all components are provided in adequate amounts and in a stable form degradable by the organisms.

Examine all information, including mine, with skepticism.

Resources Used (in no particular order)

Organic acid behavior in soils – misconceptions and knowledge gaps
D.L. Jones1,3, P.G. Dennis1, A.G. Owen1 & P.A.W. van Hees2
Plant and Soil 248: 31–41, 2003.

Root exudation of sugars, amino acids, and organic acids by maize as affected by nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and iron deficiency
Lilia C. Carvalhais, Paul G. Dennis, Dmitri Fedoseyenko, Mohammad-Reza Hajirezaei, Rainer Borriss, and Nicolaus von Wirén ~ J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 2010, 000, 1–9

Aliphatic, Cyclic, and Aromatic Organic Acids, Vitamins, and Carbohydrates in Soil: A Review
Valerie Vranova, Klement Rejsek, and Pavel Formanek
The ScientificWorld Journal Volume 2013, Article ID 524239

Organic acid induced release of nutrients from metal-stabilized soil organic matter – The unbutton model
Marianne Clarholm, Ulf Skyllberg, Anna Rosling
Soil Biology and Biochemistry; vol. 84, May 2015

Gluconic acid production by bacteria to liberate phosphorus from
insoluble phosphate complexes
M. Stella and M.S. Halimi ~ J. Trop. Agric. and Fd. Sc. 43(1)(2015): 41 – 53

Sodium as nutrient and toxicant
Herbert J. Kronzucker, Devrim Coskun, Lasse M. Schulze, Jessie R. Wong
& Dev T. Britto ~ Plant Soil (2013) 369:1–23

Interaction of micronutrients with major nutrients with special reference to potassium UJWALA RANADE-MALVI
Institute for Micronutrient Technology, Pune - 411 048, India
Karnataka J. Agric. Sci.,24 (1) :(106-109) 2011

Aluminium Toxicity Targets in Plants
S´onia Silva ~ Journal of Botany; Volume 2012, Article ID 219462

Role of proteinaceous amino acids released in root exudates in nutrient acquisition from the rhizosphere
DL Jones, AC Edwards, K Donachie, PR Darrah ~ Plant & Soil, Jan. 1994

Amino acids in the rhizosphere: From plants to microbes
LUKE A. MOE ~ American Journal of Botany 100(9): 1692–1705. 2013

BC. Open Textbooks - Introductory Chemistry
Michigan State University Extension
University of Hawaii - Soil Management Manoa
Arkansas State University - Department of Chemistry & Physics

pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
www.boundless.com - chemistry
Elcamino College - www.elcamino.edu
GPB Media - gpb.org
www.sciencegeek.net
www.endmemo.com
www.agion.de

The Only Three Heavy Elements In The Universe That Aren't Made In Stars by Ethan Siegel - Forbes - July 1, 2015

Separation and Analysis of Boron Isotope in High Plant by Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Qingcai Xu, Yuliang Dong, Huayu Zhu, and Aide Sun
International Journal of Analytical Chemistry Volume 2015, Article ID 364242

Unravelling the interactions of Boron with natural
organic matter (NOM) on a molecular level
András Gáspár ~ Thesis presentation 2008

Lithium-Beryllium-Boron: Origin and Evolution
Elisabeth Vangioni-Flam, Michel Casse and Jean Audouze
astro-ph/9907171 June 1999

Effect of Composted Organic Matter on Boron Uptake by Plants
U. Yermiyahu, R. Keren, and Y. Chen ~ SOIL SCI. SOC. AM. J., VOL. 65, SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2001

Boron transport in plants: co-ordinated regulation of transporters
Kyoko Miwa and Toru Fujiwara ~ Annals of Botany 105: 1103–1108, 2010
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:52 PM #2
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:01 PM #3
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:35 AM #4
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:00 PM #5
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Microbeman quotes "I hope I've managed to convey at least the basic function of root exudates for nutrient acquisition and that with natural growing the plant is not a sponge to just suck up the ratios of ingredients provided. One must just ensure that all components are provided in adequate amounts and in a stable form degradable by the organisms."

Yes you did!! Its Fantastic information, your quote above is my growing style or what ive been attemping to achieve with my soil.
By the way are college credits offered after this read? LOL ! I mean that with respect you are a wealth of knowledge. Thank you

Microbeman have you visited?
https://soilminerals.com/

Drwillard.com
Check out the plant catalyst.

I have these two items on the way.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:22 PM #6
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:23 PM #7
Microbeman
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I've had some email correspondence with Michael from soil minerals. We agree on some things and some not so much. I do agree with the use of minerals when practically available but I'm not anal about prescribed ratios based upon some hypotheses. The same is true of some dogma applied to specific ratios for microorganisms.

The Dr Willard info set off a mild alarm bell when I did not see readily posted data on the site. I may have missed this. Do you have an understanding of what the product is besides supposedly restructured water? If there is a patent then why do they not give the number? Perhaps I missed it.

EDIT: I just found links to trials. I'll check it out.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:52 PM #8
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i've always been curious (and dubious) about that dr willards water
used some samples a few years back ago, can't say i saw much difference from using it
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:45 AM #9
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From Dr Willards web site,

The Impact of PlantCatalyst® on Cannabis

DESCRIPTION: This test involved 64 plants called “Northern Lights” which were divided into 32 treated and 32 untreated plants. The growing medium was Hydroton, a product made from lava rocks placed in 6 inch pots which were sitting in a 4 x 8 hydroponic flood table and the test involved 3 weeks of vegetative growth and 6 weeks of flowering. Both the treated and untreated plants were ‘top fed’ Atomic Feed Liquid Nutrients at 1500 ppm over one 24 hour period every 6 days during both the vegetative and flowering stages. The plants were given water and food continuously for 15 minutes every hour when the lights were on. They were also given water and food continuously for five minutes every four hours when the lights were off. The system was flushed with tap water on the seventh day. 60 ml of Dr. Willard’s PlantCatalyst® was added to the 40 litre reservoir twice per week for the treated plants – on the first day of the food cycle and at the mid point of the cycle. Each of the treated plants was also given a weekly foliar spray during vegetative growth. The foliar spray was comprised of 1 litre of tap water mixed with 15ml of Dr. Willard’s PlantCatalyst® and applied once per week as a fine misting to the flowers to facilitate bud formation. None of the plants in the control group were given any foliar spray during this test. The largest buds on the plants treated with Dr. Willard’s PlantCatalyst® were approximately 9 inches high and approximately 3 inches wide while the largest buds on the untreated plants were only approximately 6 inches high and approximately 1.25 inches wide.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:29 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Microbeman View Post
I've had some email correspondence with Michael from soil minerals. We agree on some things and some not so much. I do agree with the use of minerals when practically available but I'm not anal about prescribed ratios based upon some hypotheses. The same is true of some dogma applied to specific ratios for microorganisms.

The Dr Willard info set off a mild alarm bell when I did not see readily posted data on the site. I may have missed this. Do you have an understanding of what the product is besides supposedly restructured water? If there is a patent then why do they not give the number? Perhaps I missed it.

EDIT: I just found links to trials. I'll check it out.

I can agree, theres no set amount of minerals or organics to add, I add to my soil what I feel is reasonable. as for microbes, its alot or alot of the beneficial bacterias and fungus spores, the plant is only going to break down what it can. Not only have I mixed in lots of great orgainic stuff, feather meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, worm castings (lots), bokashi bran, i also top feed as I grow. My plants are very healthy and green from start to finish. Nothing against compost, I personally dont make or use it in my cannabis growing. I have been using store bought dried orgainic products, from Down to Earth, Earth Juice, Foxx Farm Ocean forest soil to name a few. I felt I had very little to no minerals in my soil is why Ive chosen Argicolas soil minerals to help balance out the orgainic material.

As for Willard Water, ill just have to try it out myself.

Heres information ive found. Theres many other 3rd party studies showing great results.



https://balancedforhealth.com/minerals.htm

Trace Minerals, Colloids

And

Real Willard Water

All of the trace minerals and nutrients contained in Real Willard Water come form the fossilized remains of prehistoric vegetation, which have been “locked up” in lignite coal for literally ages. Dr. Willard found that by treating lignite coal with a very strong solution of “the water” (far stronger than is ever sold), it would break down the lignite, freeing up the nutrients it contained, and eliminating any and all of the harmful elements normally present in lignite coal (benzene based compounds, for instance). The FDA and other labs have tested the product for the presence of any harmful metals or toxic substances and have found none.

Even though these trace minerals and nutrients are present in Willard Water in extremely small amounts, some of the reports from users would indicate that those nutrients are “doing something”, or perhaps those nutrients, enhanced by being in this colloidal form, and /or when combined with the other nutrients the user takes in through his food and food supplements, which are then apparently also bound to the colloid, make for a seemingly remarkably effective nutritional combination. Information we’ve seen, in the Physician’s Desk Reference and elsewhere, indicates that only 15% to 25% of any nutrient in pill or tablet form is absorbed and actually utilized by the body. However, when in colloidal form this absorption and utilization is increased to 80% to 90%!

Many people find it very interesting that four of the micro-nutrient metals mentioned asbeing excellent scavengers of free radicals are consistently present, via this “lignite source”, in Real Willard Water. They are copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Some say they are present is such small amounts, you’d about have to think of them as homeopathic in nature to believe they could have any nutritional impact, thousands of users reports would seem to indicate that somehow those nutrients do have an effect.





DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEAR AND DARK

WILLARD WATER

The only difference in the clear and dark Willard Water is that the dark has lignite in it. Giving it more trace minerals than the clear, which we are in need of today. Both work well and neither have a taste. The dark when mixed will look like a weak tea. So for those of you who don’t like to drink tea colored drinks, than the clear would be for you.


From weirdstuff.ca with patent numbers. Also note Dr.Willard holds 21 patents. Theres been nothing even close to what he has produced, if there had they too would hold patents.

Master Distributors of Dr. Willard's Catalyst Altered Water
Master Distributors of Dr. Willard's Catalyst Altered Water
Product description:
Weird Stuff is now offering the incredible Dr.Willard's Catalyst Water.Ingredients are Water,Sodium Meta Silicate,Calcium Chloride, Sulfated Castor Oil, Magnesium Sulfate,Fossilized Organics.
U.S Patent #3893943 & 4084938.
The PH of Dr. Willard's Catalyst Altered Water is highly alkaline at 12.7. It is a non-carbonated mineral water. An excellent treatment for burns and cuts.This is the original concentrate that is added to distilled water.Eight ounces of this concentrate will catalize 16 gallons of distilled water (half ounce per gal.)
A MUST SEE VIDEO BY "60 Minutes"on "Doc Willard's Wonder Water." According to the Editor's Note "one of the most positive "60 minutes" ever produced, a Congressional investigation and thousands of loyal users which prompted the investigations in the first place" https://vimeo.com/6596672
The Following is the Latest Research on Dr.Willard's Water,
Dr. Willard’s Catalyst Altered Water

Theres lots more to this article it was very long I only posted a small portion of it.
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