> However, I offer these observations in response, but not in answer,
> to Beth's questions. I'm willing to bet her questions are eminently
> researchable ones.
You bet! Loren Muldowney, a biogeochemist on the list, and I have been
privately kicking around ideas for using root-surface ecology to either get
bacteria to rinse off sprouts, or for biological control. There has been a
substantial amount of work on root-surface colonizers as agents for
biological seed treatments. Some of these agents might work to safen
sprout-making. Also, there has been a great deal of work on use of
antibiotic-producing bacteria (esp stuff from yogurt) to inhibit Listeria,
Salmonella, Yersinia, Enterobacter, etc. UV light, ozone, and hydrogen
peroxide are possible chlorine alternatives. I don't know if these are
considered organic though.
> > I understand that the problem usually begins with contaminated
> > *seed*. Could the problem be addressed more benignly or more
> > effectivly at some critical control point in seed production or
> > distribution, improving *seed* hygiene, *preventing* (rather than
> > remediating) contamination, decreasing the count *before* those
> > little so-and-so's get the chance to replicate (and replicate and
> > replicate...)?
That's pretty tough. Seed inevitably gets dirty during production. And
just cleaning it is not enough. There is always a bacterium here or there,
in the water, even inside healthy seed tissue sometimes. A more reliable
plan is to suppress ecologically IMO. Anyone want to start up a research
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