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Microbial Function

The microbial function in the soil is that of giving life to the soil.It is that component that distinguishes the soil from the dirt, the laboratory test tube setting from the field.Soviet research has shown that a well established soil bio-system of the aerobic persuasion will be free of problem pathogen infestation.This is a very basic principle of microbiology.Micro-organisms are growth medium specific.This means that the type of organism present is determined by the environment established in that location. This puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the farmer.He is truly farming the micro-organisms.They then farm the soil and the crop.

Important in the complete balance of aerobic or desirable soil microorganisms is the production of various nutrients by these microorganisms for plant and companion microbes.For example, Actinomycetes, the fibrous white microbes found on crop residue are the major producers of vitamin B12 in the soil.Mycorrhizae are beneficial soil fungi that grow on plant roots effectively protecting them from pathogenic invasion, supplying them with growth hormones, and helping in the absorption of phosphate, nitrogen, moisture, and other nutrients.Aspergillus oryzea and Aspergillus niger are beneficial soil fungi that produce the enzymes amylase and Exo-1,4-alpha-D glucosidase which are needed for digesting starch.Both of these fungi also produce beta-D-Galactoside necessary for breaking down lactose sugars and proteases necessary for protein digestion.A. niger also produces cellulase for digesting cellulose, glucose oxidase for metabolising glucose.A. oryzea additionally produces beta-D-Fructofuranosidase necessary for breaking sucrose into glucose and fructose.What might be the effect of applied fungicides on these beneficial fungi?Perhaps the most important soil micro-organisms are the single celled plants, the algae.They produce the sugars which feed the all important bacteria that protect and feed the crops we grow.They do, that is, until they are killed by herbicides.