Dear readers, we all know that soil is the fundamental basis for agricultural production, not only because it serves as an anchor for plants, but also because it provides important nutritional elements for the growth and development of crops. We generally talk about the physical (texture, structure) and chemical (pH) characteristics of the soil, which are undoubtedly determining factors in production, but there are also the biological characteristics, which are based on the presence of micro and meso organisms that help improve soil structures and the decomposition of plant and animal organic matter, among other functions that ensure soil fertility.
Design by @amestyj with own image and public domain image taken from Piqsels
Next, aspects related to microorganisms and their action in soils are discussed.
It is important to identify which are the possible microorganisms that can proliferate in agroecosystems, therefore EM Technologies describes the possible microorganisms present:
- Photosynthetic Bacteria: they are self-sufficient and independent microorganisms, they use sunlight and soil heat as energy sources to synthesize useful compounds for other bacteria from the secretion of the roots, the synthesized substances are composed of amino acids, sugars, among others which are absorbed by plants and others act as substrates for the development of different bacteria that help the growth and development of plants. The following are some examples of microbial activity in the soil:
- Mycorrhizae improve the solubility of phosphates, thus supplying phosphorus to plants.
- This is also the case of Azotobacter and Rhizobium, which fix atmospheric nitrogen.
- Yeasts: they develop from amino acids and sugars produced by photosynthetic bacteria, organic matter and plant root secretions. They synthesize antimicrobial compounds, produce hormones and enzymes, which increase the number of roots. Their secretions are useful substrates for other effective microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria and Actinomycetes.
Image alluding to bacteria and yeasts
Public domain image taken from Piqsels
-Lactic Acid Bacteria: these bacteria produce lactic acid from sugars and carbohydrates from photosynthetic bacteria and yeasts, lactic acid is a sterilizer that helps control harmful microorganisms, in addition to accelerating the decomposition of organic matter.
-Actinomycetes: are bacteria also known as actinobacteria, their structure is intermediate between bacteria and fungi, from amino acids and sugars produced by photosynthetic bacteria and organic matter, they produce antimicrobial substances, these substances suppress harmful fungi and pathogenic bacteria, these microorganisms like photosynthetic bacteria can improve soil quality by increasing microbial activity.
Dear readers, this small description of the microorganisms present in the soil shows their importance to maintain a balance in the edaphic system, they decompose the organic material or take advantage of certain substances emitted by the roots, to elaborate elements that benefit the rest of the biota present. For the elaboration of some ecological products, soil can be collected from areas where toxic substances have not been used, this will guarantee that there is an active microbiota in the soil, and can be used to inoculate organic fertilizers or substrates to be used in nurseries.
On the other hand, products based on beneficial microorganisms can be used in the nursery phase for the propagation of seedlings, either by seed or by cuttings, since, according to Cardona and García (2008), their objective is to generate a protective barrier with beneficial microorganisms around the material so that when it comes into contact with the soil or substrate, the incidence of diseases lodged in the medium is reduced. On the other hand, the aim is to promote vigorous and uniform germination and sprouting of the materials planted by the generation of hormones.
Likewise, it will benefit the plants when they are transplanted in the field, since the substrate used with microorganisms possibly generates a barrier around the roots against soil diseases, provides substances that promote vigorous plant development and the establishment of microorganisms in the rhizosphere area.
EM production and technology. (n.d.). EM technology guide. Costa Rica: EMPROTEC.
EM Technologies. (1996). EM application manual for APNAN countries (2nd ed.). Arizona: EM Technologies.
Blanco, D. and García, Y. (n.d.). Manual of production of beneficial microorganisms. Cuba: Estación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes Indio Hatuey.
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