Soil organisms are the diverse community of microorganisms, animals, and other life forms that inhabit the soil environment. These include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, insects, reptiles, small mammals and more, all of which play vital roles in soil health and ecosystem functioning. Soil organisms interact in complex ways, breaking down organic matter, cycling nutrients, improving soil structure, and providing a range of ecological services that are crucial for plant growth, nutrient availability, disease suppression, and overall soil fertility. Harnessing the power of these soil organisms is essential for reducing costs in agriculture and optimizing production efficiency.

On a microscopic level the main groups of organisms present in healthy soil are bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes. And inspite of their incredible complexity and diversity, they can be broken down into two fundamental groups: 

(A) Microorganisms that directly consume nutrients present or released into the soil, and (B) those that in turn consume these microorganisms. Based on this predator/pray relationship, on one side we have (bacteria and fungi) which could be seen as herbivores, and on the other (protozoa and nematodes) that perform the role of carnivores. 

The breakdown of organic matter into molecular or ionic components, the sequestration of atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, and the extraction of mineral nutrients from the soil geology, and their assimilation by bacteria and fungi into their biomass; followed by the consumption of these microorganisms by protozoa and nematodes, and the subsequent release of waste products from the predatory species, is the fertilization process or “nutrient-release-mechanism” that drives plant growth under natural conditions. 85-90% of plant nutrient acquisition is microbially mediated.[1]

Besides heavily depending on synthetic, contemporary agronomy predominantly emphasizes the physical and chemical facets of agriculture, often neglecting the intricate biological dimension of our farming systems. In reality, numerous conventional farming methods actually harm or actively hinder the inherent biological processes within the soil.

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[1] Green Cover Seed. (2021b, April 15). “The Nitrogen Solution” with Dr. Christine Jones (Part 3/4) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr0y_EEKO9o

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