Steve, I am profoundly impressed with the thoroughness and
professionalism of your reply to my inquiry. Very impressive and
very useful. Thank you
Patrick Madden, WSAA
> From email@example.com Tue Mar 12 11:37:24 1996
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Diver)
> Subject: Re: effects of compost?
> To: email@example.com (Patrick Madden)
> Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 13:34:03 -0600 (CST)
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Are there any good scientific studies on the disease
> > suppressiveness of soils treated with compost? I have seen
> > few, and wonder if much more literature is out there.
> > Patrick Madden, World Sustainable Agriculture Association
> Disease-suppressive composts are instrumental in the
> rhizosphere. Compost teas are instrumental in the
> phyllosphere. That is why foliar applications of compost
> teas coupled with land applications of compost are emerging
> as the basis of many biological farms, along with all the
> other components such as crop rotation, green manures and
> cover crops, rock minerals, microbial inoculants, etc.
> One large farm in California applied 200 gallons of
> compost tea made from Luebke compost as a foliar drench to
> celery at a cost of $0.10 per gallon. The tea wets the
> foliage of the transplant and runs down the stem and
> inoculates the soil too. They packed out 100 extra boxes of
> celery per acres.
> Many of the microbial products on the market are the same
> ones found in composts, so the scientific basis of this
> decades-old approach has now being verified through research
> and commercialization of green products. These include
> microbial antagonists like Trichoderma, Gliocladium, etc.
> Harry Hoitink at Ohio State University has pioneered much of
> the research into disease-suppressive potting mixes, as you
> may well know. An author index search on the AGRICOLA database
> will turn up many citations. More recently, his lab has
> shown that a cucumber plant whose roots are in touch with
> disease-suppressive compost is systemically resistant to
> infection; i.e., the aerial portion of the plant resists
> infection, not just the root system. Fascinating!
> Elaine Ingham's (Oregon State Univ.) research on microbial
> communities in soils supports the whole humus
> activity approach to biological farming. Likewise, an author
> search on AGRICOLA will turn up a long list of articles.
> Siegfied Luebke's work with Controlled Microbial Composting
> fits nicely with both Hoitink's and Ingham's research.
> Little is published on the Luebke method, it is taught in
> seminars and through practitioners. However, there is one
> thesis that was published in The Netherlands. Anyways,
> the level of practical and scientific knowledge the Luebkes
> contributed to the making of quality compost and microbial
> of the rhizosphere and the clay-humus complex is quite amazing.
> Related to the Luebkes, Bob Pike of Pike Lab Supplies in
> Strong, Maine, has a microscope setup valued over $40,000
> similar to that which Siegfied uses in his lab. I don't
> think there is any more need for data once you can see for
> yourself under a light microscope the beautiful humus-crumb
> structure and activity of microbes when soils and composts are
> managed properly. This certainly relates to natural disease
> control, and to the use of a new research tool that supports
> treatments and practices implemented on-farm and on-station.
> The biodynamic composters, including Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and
> William Brinton are other folks that have contributed to
> this field. Plus, all the farmers across the
> organic-sustainable spectrum who have plenty to offer through
> years of demonstrated results on the farm.
> The IPM Practitioner ran a feature that summarizes much of
> the knowledge associated with disease-suppressive mixes in
> the August 1995 issue, an article titled "Alternatives to
> Methyl Bromide in Nurseries - Disease Suppressive Media",
> pages 1-13. This is an excellent review article, as usual
> from the Bio-Integral Resource Center, the publisher of IPM
> I put together a slide show on this whole topic last year
> and found the following citations to be helpful in my
> Steve Diver
> ATTRA - Sustainable Farming Information
> General Articles:
> Lumsden, Robert D. et al. 1983. Effect of organic amendments
> soilborne plant diseases and pathogen antagonists. p. 51-70.
> Lockeretz, William (ed.) Environmentally Sound Agriculture
> (Selected Papers from the Fourth International Conference of
> IFOAM). Praeger Press, New York, NY.
> Trankner, Andreas. 1992. Use of agricultural and municipal
> organic wastes to develop suppressiveness to plant pathogens.
> 35-42. In: E.C. Tjamos, G.C. Papavizas, and R.J. Cook (ed.)
> Biological Control of Plant Diseases: Progress and Challenges
> the Future. NATO ASI Series No. 230. Plenum Press, New York,
> Weltzein, H.C. 1990. The use of composted materials for leaf
> disease suppression in field crops. p. 115-120. In: Crop
> Protection in Organic and Low-Input Agriculture. BCPC
> No. 45, British Crop Protection Council, Farham, Surrey,
> Articles on Compost Watery Extracts:
> Anon. 1990. Plant protection using compost extracts.
> International Ag-Sieve. Vol. 3, No. 4. p. 1-2.
> Andrews, J.H., and R.F. Harris. 1995. Compost extracts and
> biological control of foliar plant disease. CRIS Abstract.
> Current Research Information System database in Internet URL:
> Brinton, William F. 1995. The control of plant pathogenic
> by use of compost teas. Biodynamics. January-February. p.
> Elad, Y., and D. Shtienberg. 1994. Effect of compost water
> extracts on grey mould (Botrytis cinerea). Crop Protection.
> 13, No. 2. p. 109-114.
> Kai, Hideaki, Tohru Ueda, and Masahiro Sakaguchi. 1990.
> Antimicrobial activity of bark-compost extracts. Soil Biol.
> Biochem. Vol. 22, No. 7. p. 983-986.
> Mache, Rainer. 1990. Protecting crops with a compost soup.
> Furrow. November-December. p. 18.
> Peavy, William S. 1993. Liquid eco-fertilizer: Using
> of compost' on garden crops. Ohio Ecological Food & Farm
> Association News. Winter 1993. p. 10.
> Weltzein, H.C., et al. 1986. Control of Downy Mildew,
> viticola (de Bary) Berlese et de Toni, on grapevine leaves
> water extracts from composted organic wastes. Journal of
> Phytopathology. Vol. 116. p. 186-188.
> Weltzein, Heinrich C. 1988. The effects of compost extracts
> plant health. p. 551-552. In: Patricia Allen and Debra Van
> (ed.) Global Perspectives on Agroecology and Sustainable
> Agricultural Systems (Proceedings of the Sixth International
> Conference of IFOAM). Agroecology Program, University of
> California-Santa Cruz.
> Weltzein, Heinrich C. 1989. Some effects of composted
> materials on plant health. Agriculture, Ecosystems and
> Environment. Vol. 27. p. 439-446.
> Weltzein, H.C., et al. 1989. Improved plant health through
> application of composted organic material and compost extracts.
> p. 377-379. In: A. Djigma et al (ed). Agricultural
> and Nutritional Self-Sufficiency. Proceedings of the IFOAM
> Seventh International Scientific Conference, Ouagadougou,
> Weltzein, Heinrich C. 1991. Biocontrol of foliar fungal
> with compost extracts. p. 430-450. In: John H. Andrews and
> Susan S. Hirano (ed.) Microbial Ecology of Leaves. Springer-
> Verlag, New York, NY.
> Articles on Disease-Suppressive Composts:
> AARC. circa 1995. Compost Doubles as Pesticide. U.S.D.A. -
> Alternative Agricultural Research & Commercialization Center.
> 1 p. Information sheet on Earthgro potting mix research.
> Williams, Greg, and Pat Williams (eds.) 1994.
> growing mixes. HortIdeas. January. Vol. 11, No. 1. p. 5.
> BioCycle Staff. 1991. Tree bark compost for plant protection.
> p. 158-160. In: The Biocycle Guide to The Art & Science of
> Composting. BioCycle: Journal of Waste Recycling. The JG
> Inc., Emmaus, PA.
> Gindrat, D. 1979. Biological soil disinfection. p. 253-287.
> In: D. Mulder (ed.) Soil Disinfection. Elsevier Scientific
> Publishing Co., New York, NY.
> Hadar, Yitzhak, Raphael Mandelbaum, and Barbara Gorodecki.
> Biological control of soilborne plant pathogens by suprressive
> composts. p. 79-83. In: E.C. Tjamos, G.C. Papavizas, and
> Cook (ed.) Biological Control of Plant Diseases: Progress and
> Challenges for the Future. NATO ASI Series No. 230. Plenum
> Press, New York, NY.
> Hoitink, Harry A.J. 1980. Fungicidal properties of composted
> bark. Compost Science/Land Utilization. November-December.
> Hoitink, Harry A., and Peter C. Fahy. 1986. Basis for the
> control of soilborne plant pathogens with composts. Annual
> Reviews of Phytopathology. Vol. 24. p. 93-114.
> Hoitink, H.A.J., Y. Inbar, and M.J. Boehm. 1991. Status of
> compost-amended potting mixes naturally suppressive to
> diseases of floricultural crops. Plant Disease. September.
> Hoitink, H.A.J., Y. Inbar, and M.J. Boehm. 1993. Compost can
> suppress soil-borne diseases in container media. American
> Nurseryman. September 15. p. 91-94.
> Martinson, Charlie A. 1995. Control of soil-borne pathogens
> strategic use of animal manures. Competitive Grant Report
> Progress Report of the Leopold Center for Sustainable
> Iowa State University. Volume 4. p. 92-96.
> Articles on Control of Plant Pathogens & Inocula through
> Lopez-Real, J., and M. Foster. 1985. Plant pathogen survival
> during the composting of agricultural organic wastes. p.
> In: J.K.R. Glasser (ed.) Composting of Agricultural and Other
> Wastes. Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, New York, NY.
> Yuen, G.Y., and R.D. Raabe. 1984. Effects of small-scale
> composting on survival of some fungal plant pathogens. Plant
> Disease. Vol. 68, No. 2. p. 134-136.
> Articles on Induced Resistance to Plant Pathogens:
> Kuc, Joseph, and Norman E. Strobel. 1992. Induced resistance
> using pathogens and nonpathogens. p. 295-301. In: E.S.
> G.C. Papavizas, and R.J. Cook (ed.) Biological Control of
> Diseases: Progress and Challenges for the Future. NATO ASI
> No. 230. Plenum Press, New York, NY.