Background On The Origins Of Our Bionoc Fungal Enrichment Product – Originally “Beam”

BEAM | Bionoc Fungal Enrichment

Dr. David Johnson, Adjunct Professor for the College of Agriculture at CSU, and Faculty Affiliate for the Center for Regenerative Agriculture, is investigating the use of biological soil enhancements and their effect on soil fertility in crop land and carbon sequestration for the Institute of Sustainable Agricultural Research at New Mexico State University.

In the course of his work, Dr. Johnson and his wife, Hui-Chun Su, created a bioreactor for producing the fungal-rich compost used in their experiments. The design improves dramatically on most composting systems, by allowing the plant material to be composted aerobically without needing to be turned. It reduces water usage up to six times, produces no odors or associated insects, and is inexpensive and relatively simple to make.

The compost created looks different than most compost—more the consistency of clay than mulch. It takes about a year to make, but the result is a more biologically diverse and nutrient-rich product that greatly improves the biology and nutrient availability of the soil; improves water-retention capacity; and increases soil carbon sequestration, while greatly improving crop yields.  His discoveries have led to ‘Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management’ or BEAM.

Dr. Johnson has found that the ratio between fungi and bacteria in the soil is critical to a plant’s productivity in healthy agricultural systems and thus to a plant’s efficiency in nutrient uptake. It also increases the rate of carbon sequestration significantly.

Using BEAM, the biologically enhanced agricultural management process he developed, to create fungal-dominated compost, Dr. Johnson has documented the result that, during an agricultural field study lasting 4.5 years, there was a 25-times increase in active soil fungal biomass and an annual average capture and storage of 10.27 metric tons soil C ha-1 year (approximately 38,000 pounds of CO2 per acre per year). That’s 20-50 times the currently observed soil carbon increase in the 40 equivalent no-till soils tested.  This resulted from applying a diminishing volume of diluted BEAM over time, concluding with an effective inoculation rate of only 1 lb per acre.