Micro-Organisms

Jeff Perkins

What are Micro-Organisms

Microorganisms are microscopic, living, single-celled organisms such as bacteria. Ubiquitous throughout the world, microorganisms play a vital role in supporting and maintaining nature and life. Although some bacteria are harmful, the vast majority are not harmful, but in fact beneficial. They keep nature clean by removing toxins from water and soil, and degrade organic matter from dead plants and animals. In the human body they aid in digestion and help prevent invasion by harmful bacteria. Without bacteria, life would not be possible.

Types of Micro Organisms


Bacteria

Often dismissed as “germs” that cause illness, bacteria help us do an amazing array of useful things, like make vitamins, break down some types of garbage, and maintain our atmosphere.

Fungi

From a single-celled yeast to a 3.5-mile-wide mushroom, fungi do everything from helping to bake bread to recycling to decomposing waste.

Protista

Plant-like algae produce much of the oxygen we breathe; animal-like protozoa (including the famous amoeba) help maintain the balance of microbial life.

Viruses

Unable to do much of anything on their own, viruses go into host cells to reproduce, often wreaking havoc and causing disease. Their ability to move genetic information from one cell to another makes them useful for cloning DNA and could provide a way to deliver gene therapy.

Microbial Mergers

Mergers and collaborations on a minute scale paved the way for higher life forms. Today, symbionts (the scientific terms for these mergers) help fertilize plants, construct coral reefs, and help us digest food.

Video on Basic Micro Organisms

Why its important for soil

  • Transforming raw elements from one chemical form to another. Important nutrients in the soil are released by microbial activity are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Iron and others.


  • Breaking down soil organic matter into a form useful to plants. This increases soil fertility by making nutrients available and raising CEC levels.


  • Degradation of pesticides and other chemicals found in the soil.


  • Suppression of pathogenic microorganisms that cause diseases. The pathogens themselves are part of this group, but are highly outnumbered by beneficial microbes.