Importance of Soil Microbes

The Importance of Soil Microbes

By Staff Research Agronomists
Advanced BioTech – Visalia California USA

Originally, farmers relied on bulk organic matter to sustain a healthy and active soil. Current research shows that organic matter greatly enhances the soil’s ability to produce a healthy crop. Research also indicates that microbes are an incalculable asset to the soil and to plant growth. We’ve compiled the following information on the importance of soil microbes to help give you a basic understanding of soil microbiology.

Soil is the primary nutrient medium for plants. Soils constantly provide plants not only with physical support but also with adequate organic nutrients. They also provide adequate water and a suitable gaseous environment for the root systems. Understanding their origins and their chemical and physical properties in relation to growth requirements is critical in planning for the nutrition of field crops.

Microorganisms are of great importance to your soil and plants. A single teaspoon of fertile soil may contain 5 billion bacteria, 20 million small filamentous fungi, and 1 million protists.  Bacteria are the main nutrient releasers, and they also aid in decomposition. Fungi, on the other hand, are considered the primary decomposers of organic residues, but also aid in the release of nutrients to the plants.  In fact, nutrient uptake from soil by most high plants is greatly enhanced by naturally occurring microorganisms associated with their root systems. The organisms are especially important in the absorption and transfer of phosphorus, zinc, manganese and copper. In addition, nitrogen and sulfur are made available through microbial metabolism as well as many other nutrients necessary for plant growth.

The soil structure is also greatly enhanced by microorganisms.  Through their decomposition process, the soil tilth and structure is greatly improved.  Microorganisms exude polysaccharide gums that stick soil particles together forming large aggregates helping the soil resist erosion. By enlarging the soil aggregates and incorporating organic matter, the microbes increase soil nutrients, aerations and water holding capacity.

 

Esters

Nucleosides are a single unit of nucleic acid composed of a phosphate, a five-carbon sugar (ribose or deoxyribose), and a purine or a pyrimidine. This is accomplished through the reaction of the pentose hydroxyl group with phosphoric acid.  When alcoholic hydroxyl groups (found in pentose) react with acids, esters are formed. Mononucleotides are, therefore, phosphoric acid esters of nucleosides.

In cells mononucleotides play an important role in ADP and ATP. In order for energy to be applied effectively in growing organisms, its storage and release must be carefully regulated. This is effective by means of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and by means of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When microorganisms release energy by oxidation, a portion of the liberated is used to convert ADP to ATP.

ADP + phosphate + energy → ATP

When there is a demand for energy in cell synthesis or for reductive reactions, ATP is converted back to ADP with the controlled release of energy.

ATP ADP + phosphate + energy

ATP and several closely related compounds thus serve as the energy storehouse in microbial metabolism.

Enzymes

Various reactions concerned in microbial metabolism require the presence of enzymes.  An enzyme may be defined as a protein produced by a living cell which functions in catalyzing a chemical reaction. Being proteins, enzymes are denatured at high temperatures, and their activity is also affected by pH. The compound, which is changed by enzymatic action, the substrate, serves as the basis of enzyme nomenclature. Thus, cellulase, chinase and xylanase are the catalysts concerned in the degradation of cellulose, chitin and xylan, respectively.

Alcohols and Oils

Ether and alcohol-soluble constituents containing fats, oils, waxes, resins and a number of pigments undergo attack by microorganisms. These compounds serve two functions, providing energy for growth and supplying carbon for the formation of new cell material. The cells of most microorganisms commonly contain approximately 50% carbon. The source of the element is the substrate being utilized. The process of converting substrate to protoplasmic carbon is known as assimilating. Under aerobic conditions, frequently, from 20 to 40 percent of the substrate carbon is assimilated. The remainder is released as COor accumulates as waste products that are utilized in the microscopic ecosystem. By converting the carbon in organic materials to CO2 the microorganisms complete the biological carbon cycle that was initiated during photosynthesis.

Proteins and Amino Acids

The protein molecule is composed of a long chain of amino acids. Some twenty different amino acids are found in the protein molecule, linked together by peptide bonds. Peptides are composed of short chains of amino acids. In the decomposition of proteins and peptides, free amino and free carboxyl groups are released. Proteolytic enzymes (proteinase) cleave the protein molecule to peptones (long chain amino acids), peptides and finally to the free amino acids.

Many microorganisms utilize peptones, peptides and amino acids as sources of energy, carbon and nitrogen for growth. The nitrogen of most amino acids is removed as ammonia prior to significant decomposition of the carbon-containing portion of the molecule. The microorganisms enter the process of nitrogen mineralization.

In addition to nitrogen, slur is another element required for microbial growth and many compounds serve as a slur source, among them are the amino acids such as cystein, methionine, taurine and undecomposed proteins.

Vitamins and Minerals

Essential for microbial growth are vitamins and minerals; B vitamins seem to be the most important. Thiamine is the most frequently required vitamin, but biotin, vitamin B12 and many others are also essential for a large number of bacteria. Vitamins in plant residues are destroyed during decomposition. This means that the vitamins that are necessary for the microbes are obtained through microflora excretions. Undoubtedly, the effect is nonspecific, i.e. the organisms synthesizing the compounds do not have symbiotic partners, rather the association is fortuitous, meaning unplanned. Because of the importance of such substances (vitamins and minerals) in nutrition, the interactions arising from excretions of and the need for growth factors are probably among the major biological determinants of the floral compositions.

Plants also have Complex Needs for Maximum Productivity, such as B-Complex Vitamins

Vitamins of the B-group are known to function as co-enzymes and prosthetic groups (a link other than an amino acid in a protein chain) of essential enzymes. This essentially means that B-vitamins are a part of the complex nutritive interrelationships between plant organs pertaining to the flow of nutrient ions and metabolites within the plant.

Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides known as hemicelluloses represent a significant source of energy and nutrients of the microflora. Many microorganisms of the soil utilize hemicelluloses for growth and cell synthesis. Fungi, actinomycetes, and both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria are represented in the active population. The presence of hemicelluloses also leads to a more rapid metabolism of cellulose because the greater availability of the former allows a larger population to develop, a portion of which uses the more biologically resistant cellulose.

Indole-3-Butaric Acid

One of the best and most commonly used root stimulators is the auxin IBA. It has weak auxin activity and is destroyed relatively slow by auxin-destroying enzyme systems. A chemical that is persistent is very effective as a root promoter. Because IBA translocates poorly, it is retained near the site of application.

What is MultiFIX®?

MultiFIX® is a liquid biotechnological soil and plant nutrient supplement. MultiFIX® contains essential nutrients vital for microbial growth and reproduction. The capacity for microbes to grow in a given habitat is determined by an organism’s ability to utilize the nutrients in its surroundings. At the same time, the organisms exist in an environment so complex that their nutritional and physiological characteristics will determine to a great extent their ability to get along with their neighbors. Hence, not only the function but also the very existence of a species in the soil habitat is conditioned by its nutritional and biochemical versatility.

MultiFIX® also contains nutrients that aid in plant health and production. Among them are root stimulating hormones, chelated minerals, and B-complex vitamins.

Why is MultiFIX® Important for the Growth of Soil Microbes?

Microbial cells are impermeable to many complex molecules and these compounds must be first solubilized and simplified prior to their serving the cell’s confines as energy sources. The soil microbes readily utilize nutrients in a 100% soluble form. Amino acids, protein, esters, alcohols, polysaccharides, minerals and vitamins all are essential nutrients required by soil microorganisms. For example, in a majority of soils, a large proportion of the indigenous bacteria require and are stimulated by water-soluble B vitamins and amino acids. They will not grow in simple laboratory media unless supplemented with the appropriate substances.

Benefits of Using MultiFIX®

  • Helps increase crop income
  • Helps soil rejuvenate
  • Promotes plant health to resist pests and diseases
  • Helps you increase your crop quantity and quality
  • Increases microbial activity and humus in soil
  • Improves plant root development
  • Increases nutrient conversion and uptake
  • Accelerates plant growth and vigor
  • Creates greater water penetration/holding capacity
  • Improves soil tilth and structure
  • Creates better pH balance in the soil
  • Reduces erosion and compaction
  • Promotes rapid breakdown of crop residue
  • Leads to less stress, disease, pest and weed pressure
  • Allows fewer nematodes and phylloxera
  • Improves results from herbicides and other fertilizers

MultiFIX® and Nematodes

Nematodes (Phylum Nematoda) have been creating havoc in the agricultural industry for years. The detrimental effect of nematodes far outweighs any benefit of these tiny creatures. A recent laboratory report indicates that MultiFIX® shows great promise as a possible aid to the natural control of nematodes. Some microorganisms, specifically actinomycetes, produce an enzyme, chitinase, that is known to break down the armor-like exoskeleton, composed of chitin, that covers the entire body of a nematode, leaving it exposed to dehydration. Soil samples were taken from a production vineyard, split and incubated for seven (7) days. The plate count of actinomycetes with the MultiFIX®-treated soil was 3,500,000 compared to a non-treated count of 490,000. The amount of chitinase produced by the actinomycetes microbes in the seven day trial of the MultiFIX®-treated soil was five times greater than that of the non-treated soil.

Other microorganism populations also increased with MultiFIX® treatment:

  • Beneficial Aerobic Bacteria

    10,400,000 treated vs. 6,300,000 non-treated — a 65% increase!

  • Beneficial Anaerobic Bacteria

    270,000 treated vs. 200,000 non-treated — an increase of 35%!

  • Fungi

    60,000 treated vs. 40,000 non-treated — a 50% increase!

MultiFIX® will have a positive effect on the microscopic ecosystems. Large populations of beneficial microbes can overwhelm harmful microbes.

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