Are aged forest products in soil a breeding ground for bacteria?

I have a client with failed testing for coliform bacteria.

They are using coco loco from fox farms with aged forest products in it.

I understand water, soil and poor hygiene from human staff are potential sources of these bacteria. Any other suggestions about the source of contamination?

They are also in a newly launched state and there is only one testing facility in operation. I should probably suggest sending gamples to a 3rd Party for verification.



Is it failing for presence of some, or are there like 50,000 colonies (CFU’s)?


All fox farm batches are tested before leaving the yard, he does go above and beyond to find and get the best products possible. Ive always wondered if spraying foliar tea would make it pop for microbial’s


I always thought this was high risk activity when I first learned about it and was trained and tasked to do it. The OGs at the op swore by it but I felt weird spraying bat and seabird guano all over the crop all while wearing tyvek with duct tape sealed arm and leg holes.


Im a huge fan of foliar teas and such, just wondered if they would show up as a fail. Probably the dry time and all that makes it not matter, never seen or heard of it from anyone. Yeah anything you gotta tyvek up for is not anything id spray


In retrospect it seems so obvious. Anything you don’t want to get ON you, you probbably don’t want IN you haha.


It most definitely does, spraying any “food” on ur plants will raise the microbrial count. Using a foliar that just has essential oils in it, should not raise ur microbrial count and actually decrease it a bit


The results range from 1,000-3,000 I believe. Will confirm and upload analytics shortly.

I have had flower tested and always passed when Oregon was testing for microbial back in the day, and I 100% use (foliar) kombucha, fermented horsetail, fermented nettles, and kelp/alfalfa tea, and LABS
I also use bacteria in the soil.
Nope, that can’t cause failure, don’t think they can blame it on fuck farm….

Have you ever had flowers tested that had been sprayed? Because I have, and tons of people I know have becUse almost everyone I know grows with bacteria and fungi

Test your water source


Yup. On it for sure

My client just informed me that both times the lab tech has come to the facility he has gone directly to the bathroom before collecting samples :man_facepalming:


There are various Citrobacter and Enterobacter strains that are coliforms, but also are beneficial symbiotic bacteria for plants. Basically not all coliforms are bad. Most healthy soil is going to have coliform. The photo below is a test of runoff water from a 500mn orp fed rockwool grow. Coliform are everywhere in a grow.

Look at any beneficial bacteria used for citrobacter and enterobacter strains. The only time I’ve seen a coliform fail was when they were being directly foliared.


How does CFU/g compare to MPN/100ml?

So BTGN on the second sample is fail level also…what is the potential source of BTGN?

My role in this consult is to train their manufacturing dept. on water hash extraction.

I need an analytical/cultivation/industrial hygienist expert to solve this upstream contamination issue before I can even begin on extraction.

I’m 3rd party due diligence testing water, soil and the same batch samples before I bring anyone else in or implement drastic changes to their hygiene SOPs (beyond the obvious standard preventative measures) seeing as the fucking tech went straight to the shitter before collecting samples for analysis.

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There isn’t going to be a direct correlation because I’m showing a sample of runoff. I’m showing runoff just to prove coliform are all over a grow, even one with chlorinated water.

BTGN is mostly the same coliform bacteria, just ones that can survive the stomach and likely infect us.

From the cultivation side, I would start by testing whatever they are foliaring that is likely to have bacteria in it. But everyone at that facility needs to be aware of the fact that it is totally and completely normal for coliform to live on plants. I can guarantee their runoff and grow medium testing will reveal coliform. Have they tested dry flower?

Might be a prime opportunity to develop a remediation sop. Something added to the wash water that will sterilize, I know there are several GRAS options from the food industry.


Oh yeah plenty of times, the microbrial count is always higher in outdoor.
Back in 2017 when the emerald cup first started testing for microbrial counts on flower, we had a couple entries come back borderline passing. Those same batches were stored in bins for months after and never went rancid, it held up just aswell as other strains that came in lower on their microbrial count (our indoor grow).

My old partner now works for a regenerative indoor organic growing company. They use all sorts of ferments and teas, mostly KNF oriented. Some of their strains are going over the allowed microbrial count because they sprayed foliar too close to harvest, now they stop foliars about 2 weeks b4 harvest and just do essential oils for the end.
They have mushrooms popping out of their beds, they grow fruits and veggies in the same beds, so its not the stuff in the soil, is what gets sprayed on. Regardless if its beneficial or not, it will show up on the total count

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CFU = colony forming units. Aka “live critters”. Generally acquired by actually counting colonies.

How does the reporting lab support 3 decimal places on such a measurement?!?

Did they count the CFU from a kg? Or less than a gram?


For the emerald cup, 1 oz was submitted but i think only 2g was used for testing

point is, either there was a whole colony that was counted, or there wasn’t. there are no 0.001 or 0.01th’s of a colony. if they plated from a gram, then the CFU/gram should be in whole numbers. if they plated LESS that a gram ('cause who wants to count 3000 colonies when you can count 300 and multiply by 10, then even whole numbers are a stretch. in order to justify CFU/g with three decimals as significant, they need to be plating/counting from at least a kg. we know they didn’t, so imo the lab director needs another statistics course before they actually qualify for the position.

@kcalabs are you counting colonies or performing real time PCR? How many digits do you report your “CFU” to?