October 04, 2022

Soil Microbiology 101: 10 benefits of soil microorganisms

PLANO, Texas — A free soil microbiology booklet from Agricen is available for farmers who want to brush up on soil science basics.

The booklet details how soil microbes and the compounds they produce influence plant growth, health and nutrition.

Key beneficial roles of soil microorganisms:

1. Decompose organic materials.

2. Recycle nutrients in the soil by converting organic materials into forms plants and other soil organisms can use — mineralization.

3. Generate oxygen in the atmosphere, which is important for plant respiration.

4. “Fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere by converting it to ammonium — nitrogen fixation — making it available to plants.

5. Retain nutrients such as nitrogen or carbon in their cells, keeping them in the root zone — immobilization.

6. Feed on each other, releasing immobilized nutrients in their excretions — for example, protozoa and nematodes that excrete excess nitrogen when they eat bacteria and fungi.

7. Give plant roots access to soil nutrients by transporting them to the plant — that is, the mycorrhizal fungi that colonize plant roots.

8. Bind soil particles into aggregates, helping with soil structure and water dynamics.

9. Help to suppress plant diseases by competing with or feeding on pathogens.

10. Degrade soil pollutants.

Also included in the book are definitions of soil microbiology and biochemistry and biochemical interactions in the soil-plant system.

Download the book at https://tinyurl.com/4r9efsnd.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor