Anti-fungal effect of whole grain corn meal

strawchicago(zone 5a)August 26, 2013

Abstract from below link: "Activity of propionic acid was assessed by measuring the production of CO2 by fungi in the mixtures. Antagonism was observed with soybean meal, fish meal, poultry by-product meal, and limestone. Corn gluten meal was without effect while the addition of fat to corn meal enhanced the activity of propionic acid."

In a soil research, there's more fungal growth than bacteria when the pH is neutral to slightly acidic. But both bacteria and fungi are suppressed when the pH is very acidic, below 4. Crack-corn is sold $2.99 for 10 lbs. at the feed-store, its VERY ACIDIC at pH 3.5, and become even more acidic when decompose in the planting hole. OK for to break up my rock-hard alkaline clay at pH 7.7 months in advance, but not best for someone else.

I mixed cracked corn in late fall, so my zone 5a winter kill any corn-plants that sprout. In contrast, it would be a pain for someone else in a warm climate with corn sprouting all over. NPK of corn meal is 1.6 / 0.65 / 0.4 compared to horse manure NPK of 0.44 / 0.17 / 0.35.

You can see that corn has higher nitrogen, almost 4 times more phosphorus, slightly more potassium, plus B-complex vitamins, 39% magnesium, 23% iron, 29% phosphorus, 10% potassium, 30% manganese, 37% selenium, 12% copper, and 15% zinc. The strongest anti-fungal agents are zinc, then copper, and last is selenium.

The pH of baking soda is also alkaline, from 8.3 to 8.5. In the microbiology class I took, fungal growth is minimal when the surface is dry and alkaline. Fungi increases substantially with add sugar in a neutral to slightly acidic medium. All microbes are suppressed at very acidic pH, below 4. I already tested pH of cracked corn in red-cabbage juice, slightly less pink than vinegar, but very acidic.

I have alkaline clay soil, pH 7.7 (tested by EarthCo.), my roses are pale-in-color, but have very little fungal diseases. In my pots experiment, when I topped a few pots with slightly acidic alfalfa meal at pH 5.7 ... fungal growth was max with black spot spores germination to be splashed up to leaves.

Below is a picture of Pat Austin, along with 5 other Austin roses. They are clean, no fungal diseases for the past 3 years. I keep the surface DRY and ALKALINE, by mulching with recycled wood-chips (has mold retardant), then dust the ground and lower part of roses with whole-grain corn meal (very acidic, pH below 4) when we have constant rain in late fall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corn meal and Antifungal activity of Proprionic Acid

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 14:39

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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Below is Evelyn new growth after application of whole-grain corn meal and 24/7 rain. None of my 50+ other roses did this. What impress me are the many reddish new growth with buds, and Evelyn acquire this amazing shine and healthy luster on leaves, very much like the roses posted by another person in "Rose Hugel Update", also fertilized with corn meal.

You can see a few black spots in the picture, thanks to the stable switched to straw and wood shavings which retains moisture longer. I saw a bunch of mushrooms in the horse manure pile this year for the 1st time, tested its pH to be slightly acidic, rather than very alkaline like previous years.

I shouldn't had called the stable to voice my concern about their adding lime, so they stop adding lime, and the manure isn't as alkaline as previous years. Lime is high in pH, and is a fungicide. Evelyn went from clean to breaking out in both rust and black spots with that wet and slightly acidic manure.

I had to scrape the manure/wet bedding off, and dust her with corn meal, that's how I accidentally found how good corn meal is as a fertilizer. Fortunately I only induced fungal diseases on 7 roses with that wet horse manure/bedding, the rest of my roses are still clean.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 9:50

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:44AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

1-week bud-growth and shiny leaves on Evelyn rose, after application of corn meal and soluble gypsum (calcium sulfate). The shiny leaves is from the corn meal, that didn't happen before with gypsum only:

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 1:00PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

More bud-explosions with whole-grain corn meal as fertilizer on Liv Tyler (pink) and Pink Peace rose (dark pink). Picture taken today, August 28. The elementary school let my kid out early at 11:20 noon today due to high heat index above 90 degrees.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 1:02PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Cracked corn at $2.99 for 10 lbs. from the feed store can have whole kernels that sprout, OK for my zone 5a winter that kill young-corn-seedlings, but will be a pain for someone in a warm climate.

Dry corn is very ACIDIC at pH below 4, thus effective to neutralize alkaline tap water, to release the nutrients. More shiny effect of corn meal on Romantica Sweet Promise. Picture taken today, after a week of above 90 degrees temp. When I handled whole-grain corn meal, my hands feel greasy from the fatty germ-layer.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 14:43

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 1:09PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Below is Frederic Mistral hybrid tea, 2nd year own-root, it's always clean in my alkaline clay, pH 7.7. Lower base is dusted with whole-grain corn meal (pH 3.5). I also watered Frederic Mistral with soluble gypsum and sulfate of potash for rust-prevention.

It's best to mix whole-grain corn meal with coarse sand so it doesn't glue-up into a sheet, blocking water from above. Keeping surface either dry and alkaline, or extremely acidic prevents fungal germination. Corn meal is effective against both mildew an black spots, but NOT for rust, due to its extreme-acidity at pH 3.5. Wood ash, at pH over 10, is more effective for rust. Picture taken August 30, hot temp with 70% humidity.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 14:46

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 1:51PM
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iowagirl2

Strawberryhill, how often do you apply the cornmeal?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:56PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi iowagirl2: Two years ago we had the wettest summer, 49" of rain. In that 7 days non-stop rain, mid-Sept., I threw corn meal at the base of the bush, getting lowest leaves dusted and the ground. Early Sept is the best time to start dusting in my zone 5a.

I did that before an 6 hours-rain. If the rain washes the cornmeal off, I dusted again. In between rains, there's a breeze that dried the cornmeal, and made it stuck. I kept 10 Austins clean, including Eglantyne.

The second year I did not dust whatsoever, and Eglantyne had blackspots. The rest of Austin roses were clean, thanks to the lime in horse manure and recycled wood chips (has fungicide).

Today we have 69% humidity, Frederic Mistral is still clean. What I like to experiment is to sprinkle some crushed limestone on the ground. Lime-pellets is expensive, plus raising the pH fast ... which I don't want to use. Crushed limestone is cheaper, sold for $2.49 per bag, and raises the pH slower.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 14:48

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 9:53PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Here's another advantage of whole-grain corn meal: ants and insects can't digest that stuff, thus decline. I buy 10 lbs. bag of cracked corn for $2.69 from the feed store, and grind them with a Nutri-mill flour-grinder.

Awesome as a fertilizer, buds everywhere, fast result like alfalfa tea, but with more buds. NPK of whole-grain corn meal is 1.65/ 0.65 / 0.4 ... that's much better than horse manure with bedding, at NPK of 0.7 / 0.3 / 0.6, plus salt. pH of cracked corn is VERY ACIDIC at 3.5, thus neutralize my alkaline tap water at 8.3.

I checked on fish bone meal, that stuff is so stinky that a person reported the neighbor couldn't sleep with its application. Both fish meal and fish bone meal attract huge black flies.

I tested the refined corn-meal from Walmart ... it was worthless, no nutritious fatty germ layer, just junk-food that attracted flies, and didn't work as fertilizer nor fungicide.

Some feed store grind the cracked corn into meal for a surcharge. Grubs are the larvae that hatch into Japanese Beetles. Here's an excerpt from Soil Forum â¢Posted by digdirt 6 -7 AR on Sat, Mar 15, 08 at 13:18

Corn meal also an effective control for grubs and cutworms - they love it but can't digest it, so they eat and die. I'd add it straight to the garden as well assuming we aren't talking a tiny little garden for that 25 lbs. ;) Dave

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 14:50

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:52AM
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