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Brix Levels; it's relevance to cannabis carbohydrate loading and enzymatic breakdown.

Discussion in 'Advanced Marijuana Cultivation' started by lolapug2175, Aug 27, 2008.


    lolapug2175 Active Member

    Recently I have become more fascinated with the practice of carbohydrate loading during the various periods of the flowering cycle in a hydroponics system. It was something that I had never payed close attention to, as developing, managing and maintaining an optimal salts regiment is an incredibly advanced task in and of itself. I feel like it has taken a lifetime to just to understand advanced supplemental nutrients in hydroponics and how to implement them optimally in conjunction with the standard base elements.
    I though I would initiate this topic in a thread after seeing a lot post pertaining to adding Molasses or a 'Simple Syrup Concoction' as a method of Carbo loading during the flowering cycle of a plant. most of the post read like this 'Just through some molasses in the nutes bro!!'. These post make very little sence to me. It is my understanding that at a molecular level the pant cannot uptake these available carbohydrates due to the size of the molecule being to large. It would seem that some type of enzymatic would have to be administered to help break down the molecule to a smaller form so that the plants root system my uptake these carbs. This limited understanding of this process has left me with questions pertaining to the use, method and benefits of this process.

    1.) Has anyone experimented with this process of pre-engaging the break down of the carbohydrates?
    2.) What methods were used?
    3.) what types of formulas were administered, Carbohydrate vs. Enzymatic?
    4.) During what period of the cycle was the process applied?
    5.) How Does all of this relate to the Brix levels of the plant?
    6.) What metabolic process or physical processes of the plant benefit from all of this?
    phillypete and Trashed like this.

    MrBaker Well-Known Member

    Hell of a first post. I've been asking myself some of these questions for about a year. I'll make some initial comments before I retort to your questions.

    I've always thought, "Wait, plants can't take in carbohydrate through the roots. They make carbohydrate in the leaves." Later, after reading more opinions and doing more research a couple reasons made sense for addition of a "sugar" under some conditions.
    - Molasses often comes with micro-nutrient amounts of sulfur and some other elements that are taken up by the roots. So, the carb part of the molasses didn't seem to be the important part for the plant directly in the uptake regard.
    - Also, I thought that maybe in a grow medium of soil or more likely outside the molasses mix could encourage helpful soil bacteria/fungus to live around the roots of the plant. Maybe bacteria break down the carbs and then the plant takes in whats left.
    - Another thought is that maybe the addition of molasses to the nutrient delivery would change the tonicity of the immediate area around roots, and the change in tonicity triggers the roots to act differently, somehow increasing bud growth/size (whatever molasses promises).
    - I hadn't thought of carb being broken down outside the root and then being shuttled in and/or osmotically brought in. But what breaks it down?

    The general opinion is to administer the carbs during flowering to bulk up on the buds. Never seen any opinions saying any time other than the flowering portion of the plant's life.

    As far as how all of this relates to the amount of sugar dissolved in the plant's fluid and tissue...good question. Plants make their own sugar in their leaves and the uptake in roots is controlled by controlled addition and subtraction of salt/water/nutrients/elements in order to create equilibria shift.

    (rhode island. neither a road nor an island...discuss)
    potroast, phillypete and Trashed like this.

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Alot more of the nutrient cycle happens outside of the roots than most ppl realize.. Plants secret sugars and carbs from their roots into the rhizosphere area just adjacent to the roots.. These are reducing agents that bacteria and protozoa can use as an energy to do alot of molecular work like fixating and binding nitrogen etc.. These bacteria can penetrate the intercellular regions of the roots and as the plants roots become low on their own carbohydrate reserves near the end of flowering, this becomes more important.. Its not the carbs that the roots are uptaking, its more like the energy the carbs possess.. The bacteria are just hardworking little Doozers, spending alot of energy they recieved from carbs to make the molecules/ions the plant needs.. In a way you aren't feeding anything to your plant directly, the molasses is for the microbes..
    Fermentation is all about keeping microbes happy.. Wine making stores have some pretty slick concoctions for energizers and nutrients.. Protozoa and bacteria tend to have similar tastes and compete for everything too.. I think molasses could be a thing of the past for me the next time I get around to growing.. I'm an avid fermenter, and when I feel old school I use no extra boosters, just molasses for my rum washes, and the yeast do love that, but if I add the yeast micronutrients and energizer in the form of DAP (diammonium phosphate) which is also an excellent fertilizer, I get explosive yeast activity.. I feel dumb that I never put 2+2 together when I was growing, I had all the stuff, but I hadn't really 'thought about the purpose' of the molasses, I just added it because it was suggested on overgrow.com (rest its soul)..

    Edit: Also, extended dark cycles are linked to rapid carbohydrate depletion.. It makes sense because the plant senses less energy coming in to use to produce ATP etc, so in symbiotic form it dumps whats in its roots already to feed these buggers so they can do the energy intensive work.. So this begs the question of whether molasses does anything at all in a Lowryder grow..
    potroast, phillypete and Trashed like this.

    lolapug2175 Active Member

    Mr Baker, great comments! This brings up a few more relevant questions that have developed as a result of my inquiry to the validity of this practice. I was not aware there was enough sulfur in Molasses to be significantly beneficial to a flowering plant or at leased not more than is available the nutrient solution itself. I have considered the possibility that this could be beneficial for pro-biotic cultures however in most hydroponic regiments the time, duration and medium render this most likely not beneficial to the cultures. Most production growers administer this practice during the time when they are significantly impacting the cultures due to the processes of breaking down the salts between nutrient changes and tapering PPM values. If you couple this with most typical mediums being non fibrous, it is hard to keep these cultures in and around the root mass of the plant. 10-14 days is not very much time to regenerate a newer culture so it leads me to believe that the primary objective of this process is to provide the plant with excess carbohydrates to assist with the building of plant mass. I have read rumors that it improves taste and aromatic quality of the fruit as well. Having seen no supporting scientific evidence of this, I would have to assume that Molasses, 'Sugar concoctions' 'Apple Juice' and Cyders are merely just a myth!! I am aware of companies making commercially products catering to this such as Advanced Nutrients 'Carboload', Technaflora 'Sugardaddy' and Humboldt Nutrients ' Humboldt Honey'. All of which make the same claims growers who implement Molasses Myth ( Greater plant Mass, accentuated smell and flavor). I made a few calls to all of the above vendors regarding this theory relative to their products. Both Advanced nutrients and Humboldt Nutrients made similar claims in regard to the benefits however Humboldt Nutrients stated that their product had to be used in conjunction with a proper enzymatic. Obviously this enzymatic would facilitate the breakdown of the carbohydrates for osmotic absorption. The explanation that I received from Humboldt Nutrients was by far the most scientifically plausible however it raised more questions. What is the corollary of the brix index in relation to actual plant mass? Is carbo-loading actually a beneficial process? If it were to be beneficial what could be obtained from this process (mass, flavor, etc.)? What would be the most appropriate method to carry out this process?

    Good to see the wheels knowledge spinning!!

    lolapug2175 Active Member

    Great post Born2killspam!! This raises a very appropriate question. Is the purpose of carb-loading directly affecting the plant or is assisting the metabolic process of the 'reducing agents'?

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Those options aren't at all mutually exclusive.. But the reducing agents themselves don't have metabolic processes, the organisms use the sugars and carbs which are the reducing agents to liberate energy.. It boils down to calories more understandably than brix, or specific gravity.. Reducers get oxidized when they reduce.. Another form of oxidation is combustion, so its not tough to see how energy comes about here.. Molecular processes are a give and take energy scenario.. Much of the energy given off as heat/light is absorbed by another molecule , causing it to do something (with or without another molecule) that can put it into a position where it can assist another energy unfavorable reaction before we could detect the energy was ever emitted.. Sorry about the badly written remedial chem lesson, I'm pretty sure you already know these things, so I won't bother with details like the differences between molecules, ions, atoms etc..
    In short: We are the Gods, our plants are our annointed chosen ones, and soil microbes are the slaves that serve them.. Give them this day their daily molasses, and they won't trespass against you..:)

    lolapug2175 Active Member

    Phenomenal reply Born2killspam!! This is a very important part of the process for us (the community) to understand. So... please correct me if I have misinterpreted you. It seems that you are stating the plants benefit only from the practice of carb-loading by providing carbohydrates to assist beneficial microorganisms. These organisms use these carbohydrates to produce energy. This energy is used to carry out their process of reducing elements that the plants may absorb. Is this correct?

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    And in regards to flavor it can be improved with molasses etc I think, but not nearly in the way alot of ppl talk about..
    First of all, molecular reactions can be really fussy about how much energy is in an available packet.. Sunlight on the bud doesn't provide the right type of energy needed to make all the desired reactions occur 'directly'.. Specific carbs, and amino acids etc are needed for that, and nutrients in specific forms are required to make those.. That must occur in the plant because we've pretty much accepted that they don't travel directly from the molasses.. But the plants own stored supply of simple easy to utilize carbs is depleting (it does still have carbs, but they're mostly pretty complex and specialized), so at this point its not the best at tweaking these within the roots etc, but we want more carbs to become complex and specialized, for optimum bud which still requires the simpler energy initiators way down low..
    Perhaps plants have evolved to dump their sugars to the soil as a reserve factor to avoid runaway growth from converting them to more complex forms thus depriving it of the simpler things it still needs to make typical conversions and painting itself into a corner.. N P & K are really energy oriented elements.. Phosphorous is pretty much involved anywhere energy is transported in living organisms I think, Nitrogen forms an enormously strong triple bond with itself, and potassium is a powerful anion.. Anything that can give you alot of energy is going to take alot of energy to load/prepare, and thats what the microbes do with those high octane carbs/sugars..
    I'd stake alot on my belief that the improvement comes from facilitating healthy, and well balanced maturation over forcing the plant to settle/make due.. Making sure anything up inside those buds got to do its full job, and isn't just camping out undesirably..
    Not much different than how curing apparently breaks down chlorophyl and allows various spontaneous desirable changes to occur

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Sorry I missed this post earlier, but basically yea.. Not that it makes a difference, its all part of the same ecosystem you want to thrive.. Thats why when I did hydro I used a double resevoir system, one of which contained a nitrogen fixating bacteria and goldfish..

    lolapug2175 Active Member

    Thank you for all of your comments Born2killspam!! I have been doing a bit more research to back up the information you have provided. After reviewing several online technical journals explaining this process in great depth, I crossed this information with a few phone conversations to various commercial nutrient vendors. Post speaking to members of their technical staff I would seem that there is various scientific proof that this is not a myth and this practice can assist microorganisms. Confirming this fact has left me with a few questions. How does providing a substance for microorganisms to convert to energy support claims of adding weight to the fruit/flowers of a plant? How does this relate to the brix levels of a plant?
    It would seem that the benefits 'carb-loading' a specimen would have an extremely indirect effect on the brix levels. With theoretically perfect conditions how much would this 'carb-loading' practice benefit the pant? Considering no conditions are perfect how much will this really benefit a plant? (1%, 5%,... 25%).

    By the way all external references did support/affirm that providing carbohydrates will not directly benefit a plant.


    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Does brix mean anything in solid material? I've always known it to be a liquid solution measurement.. I guess sap brix could be measured, but it wouldn't be that meaningful beyond telling us the s.g. since we don't exactly know the composition..
    How much it can help the plant would be highly variable.. If the plant still had the resources to do those reactions itself in the roots unimpeded to the maximum extent the plant could draw these products up then I doubt it would be of any benefit at all.. These organisms are tweaking basic nutrients etc.. The plant still needs alot in late growth to finish what it has started in the bud etc in a healthful manner..
    My hypothesis is that 'flushing' is a misnomer.. I think once nutrients are in the bud they are there to stay.. But the plant needs time to finalize the product that it endeavored to create, and thats in short supply since the plant's own energy supplies to make certain basic conversions is dwindling.. Luckily some nice organisms downstairs are willing to help 'knead the bread' to provide the plant with some easier to work with building blocks to put together as only it knows how.. Atleast when you flush you're preventing more unprocessable stuff from getting up to the buds so the plant doesn't fall further behind..
    My guess is it helps unhealthy more than it does healthy ones, and as I mentioned, I did read that extended dark periods stimulates that carb dump.. Thats why I think it would be interesting to experiment with this using lowryder type genetics as well..
    These are just hypotheses btw, but I have spent more than a few sleepless nights pondering this

    normlpothead Well-Known Member

    Great thread...

    It's my understanding that complex carbohydrates feed the microorganisms in the soil rather than feeding the plant. The sugars are food for them, and are too big to be absorbed by the plant.

    I use AN carboload, and sweetleaf (molasses mix).

    The carboload is food for the microorganisms that break down the sugars into edible form for the plant...

    To grow beneficial bacteria and fungus, AN tarantula, piranna, voodoo, carbo load is their food.

    This is what your talking about, I'm just not as scientific... Nothing I've read is incorrect on this thread...

    Most people don't understand the whole molasses thing, they think it's like adding KoolAid. Good posts.

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Yes it basically iswhat I'm talking about.. If I was growing at the moment though, I'd try playing with some of the yeast energizers/micronutrients they sell at beer/wine ,aking stores for fermenting.. Might be more bang for the buck, fermentation is one area they've studied micro-organism response quite thoroughly in..

    normlpothead Well-Known Member

    Kinda like the thread about feeding beer to your plants...
    Just using the ingredients to make the beer... Instead of actual beer.

    I use the AN line, with Sensizym, I think that their products simplify all the hard work, and put it into a bottle.

    I've used AN for 4+ years, and they have more and more products as time goes by, so I've researched what their products are composed of, and what they do for the soil...

    I'm finding some of their stuff is able to be made out of ordinary crap you can get at specialty stores, like brewing stores.

    Sweet Leaf- Molasses base with other micronutes.

    Sensizym- typical enzyme that breaks down complex sugars... What is this comparable to?

    thcheaven Well-Known Member

    Ok, Self admitted Dumbass here, but if we add yeast, wouldnt the yeast produce alcohol? wouldn't the alcohol be bad for the roots? Or, is my understanding of yeast wrong, don't they all produce alcohol as a by product?:peace:


    normlpothead Well-Known Member

    I don't know...

    Yeast eats sugar, and has byproducts... But I doubt it would create enough alcohol to matter.

    Anyone know what type of enzymes are best?

    What is in Sensizym?

    I don't have any problems shelling out$ for AN, but would like to know what I'm paying for.

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    The action of breaking complex sugars and carbs is enzymatic.. In fermentation the primary enzyme is called alpha amylase, but there are other amylases involved as well depending on the carbon chain getting broken up.. Yeast themselves to produce these enzymes, but not in sufficient quantity to thrive in only a complex carb environment.. Thats what the processes of malting, and mashing are for.. Malted barley etc supplies the amylase which can be found in good quantity in any germinated sprout.. This, acid, and heat break up the carbs by cleaving them into simpler sugars that the yeast will selectively steal oxygen and nutrients on based on difficulty..
    Now when I say thrive, I mean hyper-thrive.. Fermentation gets some hardcore yeast activity going on.. Yeast are truely masters at surviving harsh environments though, they are virtually inactive, and most will die, but its amazing what you can actually cultivate from.. (I retrieved live sacharomyces carlsbergus from a bottle of Carlsberg beer)..
    Also, contrary to popular belief, yeast do not consume sugar (sucrose).. They simply take its oygen when there is no other oxygen available.. They actually need a balanced diet to reproduce/thrive, and sucrose is built ONLY from hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.. Even in the presence of sugar, if there is easier to get O2, then the yeast won't produce much alcohol at all.. The vast majority of reactions yeast participate in have nothing to do with converting sucrose to ethanol, but in an anaerobic environment like what exists in fermentation, that is by far the most noticable due to the CO2 production..
    Many (if not all) other protozoa, and bacteria behave the same way.. Using the same cultivation techniques, certain fermentations actually aim for bacterial growth.. Sounds off I know, but thats what 'sour mashing' is..

    I guess that kind of confirms my hypothesis.. Just out of curiousity what stereates if any are in the AN products, and do they encorporate diammonium phosphate?
    normlpothead likes this.

    OrarkCray Active Member

    Carb loading will not benifit your hydro plant. That being said carbo loading can help a plant in pro-mix (or similar soiless mix) with a large pot. Carbo ,oading can create a huge fungal colony whose only benefit from living is giving the plant nitrogen.(and minute levels of other nutrients.) I think carbo loading would be better during the growth cycle to develop a good fungal colony in a large pot. I still think that a plans weakest link in terms of gowth will be light so the carbs won't do much, your better off with spending the extra cash on some good nutrients.

    OrarkCray Active Member

    Just quoting your hypothosis "I think once nutrients are in the bud they are there to stay" I disagree politely. When you put a plant into increase dark periods (24 hrs or more) a decrese in nitrogen will be seen in the tips of the plant. Because the nitrogen in a plant stayes fairly constant in a plant after curing I belkeive a lengthy dark period will potentially increase the taste of the product(like tomatoes.) The main reasoning your hypothosis is false is the fact that nutrient levels will differ greatly in plant matter. Again I mean everything politely.

    born2killspam Well-Known Member

    Well, that being true, it may not mean the nutrients have left the flower, but merely converted into an unrecognizable form.. On the otherhand though, nitrogen does tend to form alot of volitile compounds that could essentially evaporate.. Ammonia being one of the major ones.. Depending on soil/climate, alot of farmers have a real problem keeping nitrogen in the soil..

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