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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