The Zoo Beneath your Feet
The Zoo Beneath Your Feet
Beneath the soil surface, an intricate web of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and archaea, interacts with organic matter and mineral components to create a dynamic ecosystem.
These microbes are responsible for vital processes such as nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition, and the suppression of harmful pathogens. They also help improve soil structure and increase its water-holding capacity. Mycorrhizal fungi, for instance, enhance nutrient absorption by extending a plant’s root system, while nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form plants can use. In return, plants provide these microorganisms with sugars and other organic compounds. This exchange of resources promotes plant growth, increases resistance to diseases, and ultimately contributes to overall ecosystem health. Thus, the well-being of plants, our health and the vitality of soil microbiology are intimately intertwined, showcasing the significance of the zoo beneath our feet in maintaining a balanced and thriving environment.