Soil organisms

Soil organisms

Di: Dra. Weed - Anita Bucci Coltivazione

The organisms of the soil are numerous, of different characteristics, and found in living, fertile soil. The highest concentration of these microorganisms occurs in the areas near the roots, and to allow an adequate life balance the soil must have a good structure that allows the development of the colonies.


The animals or macrofauna we find in the soil are very different from each other: mammals, mollusks, annelids and arthropods. These generate air pockets, which help good drainage and aeration of the soil. The roots of the plants are also included in the macronutrients, since they provide food for many organisms.

Soil organisms


These act as intermediaries between the mineral medium and the living environment, thanks to their innumerable metabolic reactions that allow these materials to be incorporated into the living environment. They play an important role in aiding the vitality and fertility of the soil.

Soil organisms


Biochemistry and microorganisms

We could say that microorganisms have the most important role, as they are the recyclers of organic waste. Without them, the life cycle would be broken. They are responsible for the transformation of organic matter, sugars, starch and cellulose, which are their main source of energy. To develop correctly they need nitrogen and they have the capacity to break down complex molecules of organic matter, causing the formation of humus, which is directly associated with the humic clay complex.

They are also responsible for the solubilization of minerals from the soil (Mg, k, Ca, Mn, etc) so that they can be assimilated by the plants. Nitrogen fixation is effected by microorganisms since bacteria are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

There are three types of microorganisms that perform symbiosis with the roots of plants, the bacteria responsible for plant growth, the fungi that form mycorrhizae and the bacteria that fix nitrogen.

Bacteria play a very important role for our plants, their development and the vitality of the soil. They promote root growth and the proliferation of root hairs. They help us against pathogenic microorganisms and produce substances that increase the absorption of the plants. They intervene directly in the fixation of nitrogen and increase the absorption of phosphorus, water and nutrients.

Mycorrhizae are filamentous fungi. Their relationship with the roots can vary widely and some only associate with a single plant species. These begin to form at the root of the plant during photosynthesis and after the output of the first pair of real leaves. These fungi live very close to the roots and do not develop exclusively in the soil.


Soil organisms

Mycorrhizae are classified into ECTO and ENDO. The mycelium of the ECTO fungus partially penetrates the tissues of the cells but get inside, while the ENDO penetrate into the cells and exchange substances.

We could say that bacteria and mycorrhizae are directly involved in the feeding of our plants, in soils that are not very fertile or with little nutrient supply. The role they play is paramount and there is a symbiosis between plants, bacteria and mycorrhizae that we should not underestimate when thinking about producing a good crop.


A recommendation for you to put into practice in your garden: always place a blanket of nutrients on top of the soil of your plants. This will protect the substrate from excessive evaporation of water in very hot seasons, and also the aforementioned microorganisms so they do not die.

It helps us with the control of weeds that we do not want in our crop. This nutritious blanket  is also a source of organic matter that is integrated into the earth as it decomposes. This directly improves the nutrition of our soil.

For this protective layer I recommend using grass cuttings, clover, crushed twigs or a little animal feed or straw that has been sterilized. Make sure that the blanket does not have insects that could harm your crop.

I hope this post has been helpful!

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