Electrolyzed Water for
Prevention of Pathogens
There are two classes of disease affecting the Cannabis plant. The first is non-living and characterized as deficiencies in nutrients, pollutants, and genetic anomalies. The second is caused by living organisms including fungi (the most troublesome), nematodes, bacteria, viruses, and parasitic plants. Strangely enough, insects are not included in the disease category as they are transient and cause injury primarily due to feeding.
Cannabis has over 100 species of fungi considered a disease; however, only a few have serious consequences. These pathogens are infectious and spread by spores – the product of fungi sexual and asexual reproduction. Spores can spread long distances by air and water and have a unique ability to develop into a new multicell organism when conditions are right. The spore’s complex life cycle adapts easily to new hosts and changes in the environment by mutation. For example, molds are fungi and multicellular while yeasts are also fungi but single cellular. The two are born of very adaptive spores and obviously the result of some wild fungi parties that are in full swing in the Cannabis gardens.
Fungal Party Control
The very first priority in controlling fungal pathogens is growing healthy plants. Nutrition, chemistry, and environment all must synergize to provide growing conditions to give plants their optimum immune system. And indeed, plants do have immune systems although pathogens (fungi and other party crashers) can usually find a way to infiltrate and multiply if conditions are favorable for them as well as the plant. A good knowledge of agriculture will help provide current products and innovative solutions to improve on growing healthy and disease free crops. Much of this knowledge can come from information and education easily accessible by internet, magazines, personal communications, and government studies. A world of worthwhile agricultural information and guidance is just a computer away.
Disease control by other means is also very important because pathogens can adapt to improved and healthy plants and evolving environments within the ever-increasing agricultural communities. This is a natural progression as more and more growers proliferate due to demand and acceptance by the medical community. Unfortunately, the fungi partygoers are mutating probably at a higher proliferation rate than the growers – you know what they say about fungi sex “spread um and multiply”. Plant bacteria and virus are also spreading although they rarely cause disease in plants; however, these are a noticeable problem in the tropics and can be a problem in hydro environments and high temperature and humid greenhouses. Fungi and their related kin, however, cause the vast majority of plant disease problems and should remain in this dominant badgi [sic] role for at least the duration of this dissertation if not forever.
Since Cannabis has an internal medical use, it is very important to keep control of chemical and fungicide applications within recommended human tolerances of those using and those growing. This of course is based on the honor system of crop growers. As with all crops, however, harvest means money and sometimes this leads to justifying the means at the expense of human consumption and exposure. It seems without responsible monitoring, DDT might even be used. This is a terrible thought as DDT has been banned worldwide; but, caution sometimes gives way to cash and the irresponsible use of other chemicals and fungicides may be just enough to push the harvest to market. Many disease control applications may be abused with terrible results to humans and growers but can be prevented with an effective “green” application with a broad spectrum of target partygoers and immediate environmental neutralization.
Electrolyzed water is this application. It is a very “green” and based on all research, testing and actual use will target a very broad spectrum of partygoers and neutralizes to plain water and a small amount of fertilizer.
Applications in Use
There are many chemical and fungicide applications that are varied in use and most are far from environmental friendly. These have a tendency to solve one problem and at the same time create a few more not to mention the impaired safety of those making the application. The friendliest seem to be restricted to narrow targeted problems and are less in use with the evolution and many varieties of mutated disease.
Sulfur hotpots and seaweed extracts seem to have a good place in prevention but have other residuals that may not be so friendly. Sodium and potassium bicarbonates with surfactants (sic) also are somewhat effective but have a narrow target objective. It is interesting to note that in the early 19th century seaweed was burned to extract sodium carbonate (otherwise known as soda ash) which is used in a variety of ways. Other uses of seaweed include Bongo kelp ash that is rich in iodine and alkali when burned. So, what part of the seaweed is being applied as a fungicide? In addition, it should be noted that almost all these natural applications are alkaline meaning the pH change is the control issue and not necessarily the ingredients.
ORP water systems use monitoring to control the disinfection potential of water in the pre-harvest environment and make adjustments to pH and other measures by the addition of various molecular acids including the compounds comprised of the elements and molecular combinations of hydrogen, oxygen, and chlorine. This is by far the most effective means of minimizing the potential transmission of plant pathogens in pre and post harvest operations. The problem is that the process is complicated and requires equipment maintenance, calibration, and constant checking of sensors and cross checking to maintain the effectiveness of the process. This all boils down to – it is expensive!
It should be pointed out that this ORP water system is strictly chemical and has no energy applied. For the most part the treated water is stable and the value of the ORP is minimized to target a specific disease due to the chemical variance in reaching this potential. For the most part, however, it is very effective and “green” friendly. If energy is added to this system, “Electrolyzed Water” is produced.
ORP – the Oxidation-Reduction Potential
The goals of the ORP water system described above revolve around ORP (oxidation-reduction potential otherwise known as “redox”). This is important because an electrical charge is used to steal and add electrons to hosts not wanting to share, which will result in death or a breach in the host’s defenses.
Oxidation-reduction potential is measured in millivolts (mv). A millivolt is the measure of potential or pressure for a solution to take or add an electron in oxidation or reduction respectively. In oxidation, it is a positive measure in millivolts that describes the potential for that solution to grab and rip off an electron from another element or molecule. Another way to describe potential is pressure. For example, a 12-volt car battery measures its pressure as 12 volts. 12 volts is not enough pressure to penetrate the human body’s resistance and therefore if you use your body to complete the circuit between the positive and negative terminals you feel nothing. On the other hand, when you grab a spark plug wire – when the car is running – you will definitely feel the pressure of 15,000 volts. A very small amount of current will pass through your body but it is not enough to kill you. Also, in the case of current, keep in mind when an electron has enough pressure to penetrate the resistance, it does not flow but replaces an electron in the next element, which in turn pushes one out that replaces the next one and so on until one falls off at the end of the wire and neutralizes the battery loss from the other end. (This may be useless trivia but an electron theft with ORP is not the same – there is no replacement of the electron). The point is, the higher the voltage the more pressure the solution has to force by theft an electron to the deficient host – high ORP electrolyzed acid water.
A microorganism needs all its electrons to survive and will die or be compromised with a deficient electron; therefore, apply the pressure to the fungi partygoers and the lose cannons will be condomized – think about it. So the question is…what pressure, which microorganism, when, and where?
There are some very nasty microorganisms and some very good microorganisms. The sad truth is the good ones will go before the bad ones. A fact of life – the bad ones need to survive after death to clean the deceased host and therefore are much more tolerant. In any case, if you apply an ORP with sufficient potential, both the diseased and beneficial organisms will be eradicated for a time. You must be careful and diligent to keep an eye on the process and not overdo it. Time and feedback will provide the answer to which organism, when and where.
As a rule, no microorganism can survive with an ORP value greater than 1,000mv for any length of time. Some lesser defensive organisms will perish at 600mv depending on the time of exposure and others will perish even at lower values depending on the time of exposure. Although there is no definitive time as a general rule, an ORP greater than 1,000mv should be very destructive to all fungi in less than five minutes and probably in less time than that. Anyway, there are many variables – light, temperature, humidity, altitude, others – all will determine the time required when considering the 100 plus varieties of fungi. As information becomes available and is validated and tested, these estimates will be modified and adjusted.
The “reduction” side of ORP will be addressed after “electrolyzed water.”
Enter Electrolyzed Water
Strangely enough, if you create a dilute saline (a salt) solution and pass a current through this solution, electrolyzed water is created with a high ORP that can be regulated by time and voltage. Included in this water are some very reorganized and microorganism killer compounds consisting of combinations of hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, and the other side of the salt component. The pH will generally be 2.5 on the acid side with 11.5 on the alkaline side. ORP will be 1,200mv and -700mv respectively. The Sauveur CL unit from Japan produces this water.
For small operations, this unit can produce in five minutes a half-gallon of acid water (human friendly) and a half-gallon of alkaline water (human friendly). Each half gallon has beneficial qualities as an antiseptic and disinfectant and will attack fungi, bacteria, and virus where it hurts the most – steal an electron and further destroy with some very upset radical ions. This water is a “water of mass destruction” and is an effective antiseptic and disinfectant in all aspects of pathogen life with a “green” component – it will revert to a stable solution (mostly plain water) in a short period of time. As a rule, the water should be used within one week of production to assure the ORP remains above 1,000mv.
Electrolyzed water can be used daily unless evidence and further testing proves otherwise. It should also be applied when the plant first appears – if a fungi imbeds itself in the young leaves (like powdery mildew), it will be tough to eradicate due to the neutralization of the acid water on contact with organic leaf matter – the ORP will not be effective if the mold fungi is within the leaves. However, topical relief will control the fungi to some extent. It is also a good idea to spray initially a few times with alkaline water upon first introduction of this process. This water will add electrons to any leaf deficiencies and if KCL (potassium chloride) is used as the salt, the free-floating potassium will be given to the leaf as an added nutritional benefit.
A daily application after initial spraying by the alkaline water should be made by spraying the acid water first and following up with alkaline water before the acid water has dried. In humid growing environments, this should not be a problem. In addition, since the combination of acid and alkaline will revert back to plain water on discharge of electrons and recombination, it is a good idea to continue spraying right up to harvest time. It appears that grey mold will infest flowering tops – large moisture retaining females are most vulnerable – and on spraying with acid and following with alkaline, the water will revert to plain water – the “green” effect.
Spraying devices will depend on how big your operation is. For home growers, anything should suffice as long as the leaf is very wet with particular attention given to the underside. The size of spray droplets is also important. If the size can be sprayed at less then 60 microns, a fog mist will develop. Since this is electrolyzed water with a charge, a 60 micron droplet looking for an electron (acid side) will be attracted to any surface, even if that surface does not want to give up an electron. Hence, a fog spray should glue itself to leaf surface in all crevices and from all directions (even the underside) for maximum effect. Conversely, in applying the alkaline water as a follow-up spray with active negative ions attached to the leaves (from the previous acid spray), the fog spray should also be attracted with the resulting plain water reaction and a little potassium left as a nutrient. This method of spraying is commonly used and is called “electrostatic spraying”. Unfortunately, the above theory with electrolyzed water is just a theory until evidence and testing is available. Anyway, spraying is required with or without the electrostatic effect.
Electrolyzed water has not been used on Cannabis with any published results that can be found. There is lots of evidence supporting disease control and increased crop production with tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, lettuce, and some others. There are big commercial units available for producing electrolyzed water for commercial operations in these crop fields and they are gaining rapid acceptance due to the benefits derived. Sauveur Corporation of Japan has large commercial units and will tailor install for a commercial operation. For Cannabis, it is a good idea to start small with the CL application and work up if pleased with the results.
ORP – the Reduction Side
The “oxidation” potential explained earlier with ORP measured in millivolts the ability to steal an electron which destroyed pathogens. “Reduction” potential is the counterbalance. In understanding “electrolyzed water”, it is clear that two separate waters are created and on combination would make normal water with a very small amount of salt – the “green” effect. In fact, as the electrolyzed water reacts with the environment, the same balance is achieved – the “environmental” effect. Unlike “oxidation”, “reduction” will readily give electrons with pressure measured in (-)mv. The negative pressure is a pushing potential to get rid of these excess electrons. The Sauveur CL unit has an ORP for their alkaline water of (-)700mv. The reason it is not the same level as the (+)1,200mv on the acid side is in the reaction of taking on more electrons, the alkaline molecules and elements use energy – an exothermic reaction. Nevertheless, this alkaline water is loaded for bear and wherever it can give an electron it will. This means that solubles can come out of solution like potassium and other nutrients important to plants and remain on the leaves and soil for digestion.
An important use of the alkaline water based on the above observation is the possibility of adding nutrients to the solution on spraying after the acid application. It certainly will deposit these nutrients on leaves in the process of reduction – trying to get rid of its electrons. Accordingly, some experimentation has occurred using seaweed, deep seawater, and other nutrients. It has been recommended that a half-solution to a full-solution of alkaline water could be used; however, keep in mind that reduction may get rid of its electrons within the solution before neutralizing the acid component already on the leaves (although, some of the acid has already been neutralized anyway due to organic and environmental reactions). However, until other information can confirm the benefit, additional fertilization should not be used as an additive to the alkaline water.
The Summarized Process
In summary, the Sauveur CL unit will produce a balanced acid and alkaline water for pathogen control on Cannabis. When spraying acid water on foliage, the solution will seek out all organic microorganisms and steal electrons thereby killing or compromising the organism’s ability to multiply and survive. The water has other reactive components that are also deadly on contact which supplement the ORP effect. In any case, this is deadly water to all microorganisms primarily due to the energy absorbed during the electrolysis process and the unstable characteristics of the resulting solutions wanting to neutralize.
To neutralize any remaining acid effects on plants, the alkaline solution is sprayed over the acid solution a short time later. The alkaline solution will certainly neutralize the acid with resulting plain water and a little potassium – surrounded by dead pathogens. It should be emphasized that the alkaline water also has some very destructive radicals that attack on a different level.
Finally, the radical change in pH from acid to alkaline or vice versa acts as a shock treatment to any microorganism. This water has a 10 billion-count change in the hydrogen ion count from acid to alkaline or vice versa. Most pathogen partygoers love their little acid hot tubes regulated to their party pH preferences without much change. Even the Cannabis plant likes its roots between 5.5 and 6.5pH – not to exceed in either direction. Not to worry, the pathogen police “Mold Busters” are here in response to a pH2O (party Habits 2 Outrages) call to put an end to the pestivities [sic].
Is this picture clear? It is not difficult to understand but does need feedback from grower’s and interested parties. Therefore, all you “twitter birds” and “blogger bees” send us the “facts of Cannabis life”. Let us figure out the optimum use of “green” energy, “green” money, and “green” plants.
Elvis has left the greenhouse in need of an acid margarita and alkaline ice