Straight to the point: Mycorrhiza is a soil fungus (look at the fine web of hyphus between the hair roots of the plant!).

Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi, so-called “glomeromycota”, have existed for about 1 billion years. Cyanobacteria were then considered in Ordovician – a geological era. Everyone knows the white braid at the root of a mushroom in the forest floor. There are hundreds of them. Each plant has more or less of it. 80% of all plants have such symbiotic relationships. When plants get under stress, they emit biochemical aids. The fungi grow towards the plant roots – with so-called hyphae, which have only the 10th diameter of a hair root. At the root, they become firmly attached to the surface or become established in the cell cortex, so-called endomycorrhiza (gr. Endo). From there, they form more hyphae and there is a narrow hyphae mesh that penetrates the soil much more intensively than hair roots could ever do. And that makes sense. For all parties involved.

The soil fungus provides the plant nutrients and water, the plant gives the fungus sugar – a symbiosis that lasts a lifetime. The plant grows faster and becomes stronger, it blooms rather and carries bigger and (mostly) more fruits. It can grow even in brackish areas, in floodplains or arid (dry) areas. Plants are better protected against pests (plant disease) because they are healthier and stronger. A completely natural process – to the anger of the fertilizer industry – it is possible to save up to 50% of chemical fertilizer. If the compost is still made from natural and self-made biowaste, much better. In most cases, our soils are completely over-fertilized and masses of chemical compounds (for example phosphates, nitrogen) seep into our groundwater.

However, these soil fungi do not occur in large and sufficient quantities in the soil. So you have to cultivate them beforehand and then somehow bring them to the plant. There are several technologies. Cultivation on earth is the easiest way. The density of the mycorrhiza is however lower and if the fungus does not come into contact with a plant within a few weeks, it dies. A business risk. The other possibility is to introduce fungus spores, hyphae, root residues into large-pore carriers. For this purpose, e.g. Expanded clay as used in hydroculture. The secret is in how. In greenhouses maize is mostly planted in already vaccinated carrier material. If the dryness and humidity change, the temperatures rise, the plants become stressed, and the symbiosis process begins. In this way, the carrier material Blähton is interspersed with whole nets of roots, hyphae and spores. After a few weeks, the product is finished and dried. The fungi encapsulate themselves – like in a seashell – and can be stored for up to 5 years without losing large effect. If now only a few milliliters of expanded clay are placed under the root of a young plant, they enter into a symbiosis that lasts for a lifetime.

Likewise it is possible to bring mycorrhiza to the roots of older plants. For older, valuable trees, so-called Ecto-Mycorrhiza are used by bringing larger amounts through plant holes to the active root tips and thereby “inoculated”. In the middle of the 2000s, we have already conducted studies in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) and achieved excellent results. Here is our video

Unfortunately, “black sheeps” are also everywhere who buy high-quality material with high concentrations and then they “dilute” with other materials. Mycorrhiza should contain at least 200,000 infectious units per litre. The best thing to do is to get certified (imported) material from a trustful dealer (product accreditation e.g. in Costa Rica and an import license).

In the coming months, we will launch test series in Costa Rica, which will show the effectiveness of mycorrhizals in Latin America together with farmers. For this purpose, test series, with or without mycorrhizae, are applied under the same conditions. It is essential that the soil is not over-fertilized, preferably sterile (with 0,5 kg nutrients/m³: N12,P0,K18), in order not to distort the results. Mycorrhiza is therefore a small natural building block to get agro – chemistry from our cultivation areas and to feed us healthier again. Even genetically manipulated plant cultivation could thus be counteracted a little bit. Hopefully.