Saturday, June 15, 2013

Compost Tea - Watch Microoganisms Multiply

 I have several experiments that I want to do with my new microscope.  I'm a novice with the microscope so I may make some mistakes. I did not know that I needed microscope slips, so these first videos are a little blurry.

Growth is slow at first, but within minutes the organisms find food, and begin to multiply. This video takes us from the first few minutes after I added molasses and water to 21 hours later. Eventually the food will be used up, and toxic waste will build up. The organisms will die if left in this solution, so it's important to use the tea while they are thriving.
 Using a piece of acetate for a cover slip I examine the sample of compost tea I took five hours earlier.  The slip makes this video clearer than the one I took this morning.  Even though there was no aeration this jar of tea has continued to grow more microorganisms.

This next video is about 30 hours into the brew. I wanted to determine if Neem Flour (a botanical insecticide) will kill beneficial microorganisms and to see what progress they have made since the brew began. I had previously looked at a sample with no neem flour and it looked the same as this sample so I saw no reason to show both..

Neem flour is said to kill non-beneficial nematodes and anthropoids.  My conclusion is that it does not kill many of the microorganisms,  I lack the skill to determine if beneficial or non-beneficial nematodes and anthropoids were killed,but I feel confident that neem flour does not kill all of the microorganisms.

For more information about neem I found these sites to be helpful.

I will continue to monitor the microorganisms, and I will post an update for the second part of this experiment which is to determine when the tea begins to get too old to use.  I may also experiment with dilutions and additional molasses to see how long tea can be kept viable.
To eliminate the possibility of anaerobic bacterial I will conduct this experiment again after I get my cover slips, but I will aerate the samples over night rather than simply leave the jars open.  It's unclear to me at this point whether or not the increased microorganisms is due to anaerobic organisms which may be less beneficial to plants.

More about microorganisms: 
These two are good for identification of compost microorganisms

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