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Old 22-02-2012, 09:36 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
songbird[_2_] songbird[_2_] is offline
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Jun 2010
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Default a small study of rotting

Billy wrote:
songbird wrote:
Billy wrote:
songbird wrote:

control fungi. at the rate of application of
one dry quart to seventeen dry quarts of husks,
the answer is no.

Since fungi create a low pH environment, and bacteria a high pH one
(relatively speaking), it appears the bacteria won (NH4 = pH 7).

the bin was full of fungi and smelled of ammonia.
hmm... now i'm really confused. hahaha...


can't revisit atm, experiment terminated, until
next supply of husks comes around.

as side notes, usually in the dirt the bacteria
include species of nitrogen fixers and consumers
of ammonia so it is very rare for me to smell
ammonia coming from dirt unless i've happened to
hit a localized heavy spot of organic material
being decomposed by fungi.

Nitrogen fixers convert N2 to NH3. The plant uses the NH3.

and there are bacteria that will turn it
back into the gas form again.

if what you say is true that would be the reverse
case wouldn't it? do you smell ammonia when you
work in your garden soil as compared to what you
smell when messing with the soil/mulch layer boundary?

I never smell ammonia (NH3) in the soil, but I do, rarely, in the mulch
when the mulch is very thick .50cm. Decomposition of amino acids (acid
+ NH3) can be a strictly chemical reaction.

half a cm of mulch is not much mulch at all.
did you mean 5cm? i'm thinking of several
inches of mulch at least for when i notice it.
the bin was about 30cm of soybean husks.

the note about it being a strictly chemical
process is interesting, but in a bin mixed with
worm castings laden with fungi and bacteria i
can't imagine there being much of that going
on that was not mediated by either fungi or
bacteria. the entire bin from top to bottom
was full of spores.

so i do really think that if the bacteria had
indeed won i would not have been smelling ammonia.
the pH was not measured for either bin so i can't
say what it was.

Ammonia is basic: pH7. Bacteria like basic soils.

yep. but they'll be around in other soils
too. there's really not many places that bacteria
will not colonize given a chance.

i do know that the innoculating worm castings
and soil had nitrogen fixing bacteria present because
much of it was taken from the same bin from top
to bottom. so there were anaerobes as well as
aerobes in there. if i dig to the bottom of any
of the bins i'll find the methane/boggy smell,

Methane has no smell. Gas companies add H2S to it so that it has a
recognizable oder.

ah yes. hydrogen sulfide is part of the swampy

but the soil above (and the bacteria) filter/consume
the smell/methane before it gets out.

I have never heard of methane consuming bacteria. If so, they would love
the frozen tundra which releases incredible amounts of methane
(greenhouse gas) as it thaws.

i'd be sure they are at the boundary, but it
being so cold they are probably limited by the
frozeness below and the more active/warmer
bacteria, etc. above.

if there is an energy source there is likely a
bacteria that feeds off it (i would not be surprised
if there were a bacteria that also feed off nuclear
reactions too).