Fwd: Meet your friendly neighborhood soil microbes

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Sarah Boltwala-Mesina

Dec 11, 2017, 7:58:38 PM12/11/17
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We know that our compost is teeming with beneficial microbial life, but we wanted to get a glimpse of the action first hand. So we got ourselves a microscope and dove headfirst into this fascinating invisible world!

Join us in celebration of the innumerable organisms that build soil's structure, cycle nutrients and make the Earth a beautiful and habitable place to live.

Bacteria & Protozoa

The smallest "dots" seen in the background of this photo are bacteria -- the decomposers of organic matter. Highlighted in orange is a testate amoeba -- a protozoa that feeds off of bacteria, subsequently "cycling" plant-aviailable nutrients within soil. 


While most compost piles are teeming with bacteria, these delicate strands of mycelium are more elusive. Fungi bind tiny aggregates of soil together to create larger aggregates -- the crumbly, porous structure of soil that permits the passage of oxygen and water.


Nematodes are tiny worm-like creatures that get a bad rap among gardeners for eating plant roots, but not all nematodes are bad! In a healthy compost pile, many are beneficial, consuming bacteria and fungi and cycling nutrients.


A predator of bacteria, fungi and nematodes, microarthrorpods also aid in decomposition by "shredding" organic matter -- increasing the surface area available to be colonized by bacteria and fungi, soil's primary decomposing workforce.
Microscope images provided by Food2Soil's former Program Manager, Susan Delhommer, who recently accepted a position working with world-renowned soil microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham, at the Environment Celebration Institute in Berry Creek, CA. Congratulations Susan! Food2Soil is so happy and proud to have been part of your soil journey!
Spots are still available for the workshop on December 16th 2017 for those interested in starting community composting hubs for their neighborhoods. Register here.
Support community composting by purchasing a Soil Share
Copyright © 2017 Food2Soil - A Project of Inika Small Earth Inc., All rights reserved.
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