organic agriculture microbial activity and soil health
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Organic Agriculture: Microbial Activity and Soil Health. Warren Roberts Jim Shrefler Merritt Taylor Lane Agricultural Center OSU. We All Want Food that is. Plentiful Nutritious Safe. Why Have Organic Food?. Public Concern about Food Safety

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organic agriculture microbial activity and soil health
Organic Agriculture: Microbial Activity and Soil Health

Warren Roberts

Jim Shrefler

Merritt Taylor

Lane Agricultural Center

OSU

we all want food that is
We All Want Food that is

PlentifulNutritiousSafe

why have organic food
Why Have Organic Food?
  • Public Concern about Food Safety
    • Perception that Organically Grown Foods are Safer & More Nutritious
microbial activity and soil health
Microbial Activity and Soil Health
  • Define Microbial
    • Micro-organisms
  • Define Activity
    • Growth, Reproduction, Function
  • Define Soil Health
    • Ability of a Soil to Function
      • Chemistry, Physics, Biology
  • Define Biology
    • Study of Life and Life Processes
purpose of soil health
Purpose of Soil Health
  • Promote Plant and Animal Systems
  • Promote Clean Water
  • Prevent Soil Erosion
  • Promote Human Health
  • Promote Life !
soil microorganisms
Soil Microorganisms
  • Larger Animals
  • Bacteria (Often Single Cell)
  • Fungi (Often Long Filaments or Hyphae)
  • Actinomycetes (Properties of Both)
microorganisms
Microorganisms
  • Affected by
    • Moisture
    • Temperature
    • Aeration
    • Food Supply (Organic Matter)
    • Acidity
location in soil
Location in Soil
  • Mostly in top inch
  • Almost all in top 6 inches
  • Rhizosphere
    • Adjacent to plant roots
    • High microbial activity
    • Contains root exudates
soil animals
Soil Animals
  • Earthworms
  • Mites
  • Nematodes
  • Protozoa
  • Beetles
  • Termites
bacteria
Bacteria
  • Mostly Single Cell
  • Millions per Gram
  • Millions of Billions per Acre
roles of bacteria
Roles of Bacteria
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Mineralization
  • Organic Matter Decomposition
  • Soil Stabilization
  • Aeration
  • Tilth
nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen Fixation
  • Bacteria (Rhizobium and others)
  • Symbiotic
    • Bacteria gets carbon from plants
    • Bacteria supplies Nitrogen to plants
    • Usually with Legumes
mineralization
Mineralization
  • Conversion from Organic Substance to Molecular Level Minerals
  • Decay
  • Physical and Chemical
organic matter decomposition
Organic Matter Decomposition
  • Physical changes
    • Organisms eat, crunch, rip, tear
    • Earthworms, mites, ants, etc
  • Chemical changes
    • Digestion with enzymes
what controls rate of decay
What Controls Rate of Decay
  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Food Supply
  • Oxygen
  • C:N Ratio
c n ratio
C:N Ratio
  • Microbes Need Carbon
  • Microbes Need Nitrogen
  • Nitrogen is Often the Limiting Factor
c n ratio1
C:N Ratio

Slow

Stinky

soil stabilization
Soil Stabilization
  • Soil Aggregation
  • Clumps of Particles
    • Organic Matter
    • Bacterial Residues
    • Fungal Hyphae
aeration tilth
Aeration & Tilth
  • High Organic Matter
  • Low Compaction
  • High Aggregation
fungi
Fungi
  • Hundreds of Thousands per Gram
  • Perform Functions Similar to Bacteria
    • Decomposition
  • Important in Plant Nutrition
    • Mycorrhizae (fungus root)
mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizae
  • Mutualism or Synergism
  • Benefits Plant and Fungus
    • Ectomycorrhizal
      • Hyphae do not penetrate root cells
    • Endomycorrhizal
      • Hyphae do enter root cells
      • Arbuscular
  • Very Common
    • 90+ % of plant families
ectomycorrhizae
Ectomycorrhizae
  • Ecto- (outer)
  • Hyphae form sheath around root tip
  • Promotes nutrient absorption
  • Promotes nutrient translocation
endomycorrhizae
Endomycorrhizae
  • Endo – (inner)
  • Hyphae Penetrates Cell Wall
  • Promote Nutrient Uptake and Exchange
  • Increase Surface Contact Area
to your good health soil
To Your Good Health (Soil)
  • Keep pH near neutral
  • Avoid Compaction
  • Maintain Good Moisture
  • Promote Drainage
  • Good Temperature
  • Organic Matter
probiotics
ProBiotics
  • Cultures of Beneficial Microorganisms
    • Compost Teas
    • Inoculants
  • Organism Food
    • Sugar
    • Molasses
    • Nitrogen
where we are
Where We Are
  • 50 + years of Chemical Research
  • What If ?
    • 50 + Years of Biological Research ?
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