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Milk as an antifungal

Posted by cckw 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 10:18

I was reading up on control of brown rot last night. There are several blogs and etc that claim to have successfully treated fungal issues with milk. The idea is based on a 100 year old study in Canada that was turned up in 1999 and has gotten some traction since.

I want to post this to help anyone who wants to try it. I don't care to argue with anyone who does not want to believe natural things are effective. I just want to put this out there so those who want to try it can have some success.

I believe the Canadian study, but not most of the blogs & etc. I think we all have read blog posts that are in the field of our work expertise and we can see the blogger completely winged it, right?

Here is why I don't believe the blogs. From my wifes field of study the only way this would work, and it will, is if the milk is raw. Milk you buy at the store has been pasteurized, which is heated to kill the living organisms in it. The need for this in drinking milk is due to pathogens picked up on commercial handling of milk.

In many states it is illegal to buy milk that has not been pasteurized. In others you can buy it direct from the farmer only, and I believe in CA you can buy in some stores.

So you must start with raw milk for it to work. Mix milk and water at the rate of 20-50% milk and spray onto your plants every 10-14 days or after a rain. It has to be used as a preventive, not a disaster recovery.

try it for any garden or orchard issue that is fungal.

Where to find raw milk: many people won't want it bad enough to do the work to find it. Fine.. But for those who want to, the best place to start is find a local Weston A Price chapter and ask them. ( WAP is a healthy eating organization that is big on raw milk) You can also ask around at a farmers market. The milk does not have to be organic, although most of what you find available raw will be. If there is a small cheese making operation in your area you may be able to get whey from them. But you would have to inquire about the temperatures in their process.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Milk as an antifungal

Oh, I know the answer to this one!! (Pretend I'm obnoxiously raising my hand, like Hermione in Harry Potter.)

Milk IS an antifungal, and SCIENCE can tell you why.

"In the presence of sunlight, milk and whey, for instance, appear to foster the production of biologically damaging free radicals, such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radical.

Bruer notes that in whey, "a protein, ferroglobulin, under the influence of ultraviolet light produces an oxygen radical that is extraordinarily toxic." So, any fungus that encounters it "will be in big trouble," he explains. Why doesn't it hurt the plant? Grape leaves have a thin layer of surface wax that the water-soluble radical can't penetrate.

But this mechanism also explains why the dairy treatments don't work well on heavily overcast days, Bruer adds. They need the sun's light to kick-start their mildicidal action."

It's the specific proteins in milk that kill the fungus, in the presence of sunlight. Organic/raw milk isn't necessary.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Dairy Solution to Mildew Woes

RE: Milk as an antifungal

Good article Fruitmaven! Yeah it points out something really important, use more than one product! You have to switch it up to have control. Doing this has worked really well for me, and dry milk is now added to the regime!

RE: Milk as an antifungal

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 10:49

My guess is milk also gets an antifungal kick from the acidic pH. Many fungi have a somewhat narrow pH range in which they will replicate.

RE: Milk as an antifungal

The few studies of milk on brown rot showed no efficacy. It does help against powdery mildew, but that disease is easy to get rid of with oil. I don't know if any studies used raw milk or not.


RE: Milk as an antifungal

Milk is not very acidic, about pH 6.6. For reference, most rain water is pH 5.5 or so.

I have no idea of its efficacy on brown rot, I haven't looked into it at all. Brown rot hasn't been a problem for me (yet). I do use milk every winter to combat the powdery mildew on my indoor rosemary plants.

This post was edited by fruitmaven.WIz5 on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 13:39

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