The Manchester system
Biological filtration for active disease control
Known for years for their work in developing the use of capillary mats (Florimats) and acid dosage, this year FPL will focus on The Manchester System.
Known for years for their work in developing capillary mats (Florimats) and acid dosage.
We know that slow sand filters and reed beds, when working properly, provide environments which encourage beneficial microflora to eat plant pathogens.
- Technically, we can measure how effective they are by assaying the population of beneficial microflora in water, using media such as Kings B. We can do the same for pathogens in similar ways.
- In practical terms, we know how many “good guys” we need to be able to count to be sure that they will eliminate the “bad guys.”
- Technically, there are at least 15 steps which we could take to encourage large, effective populations of beneficial microflora in water.
- Practically, we know how much work may be required to keep slow sand filters clean enough to be reliable.
- When evolving a “Manchester system” to suit a particular site, we select as few steps as possible, and aim to make each system self-cleaning.
- Scientific measurements by microbiologists have shown that Manchester systems generally produce between 3.5 times and 20 times as many of the “good guys” as a slow sand filter or a reed bed when they are working well. The safety margins are well-proven.
- The practical results speak for themselves. The systems have been found to control many water- and soil-borne fungal diseases, and also some bacterial ones including Erwinia, Pectobacterium, Pseudomonas and Ralstonia.
FPL have been evolving and applying this approach to water sources and water storage for irrigation, and also to deep hydroponic systems under many acres of glasshouses, since 1998. For example, systems have been used to digest organic sludges which had accumulated over decades in reservoirs and water tanks. This has implications for crop nutrition. In practical terms, growers learn to assess the on-going balance of their systems by sight, touch and smell.”