Beneficial bacteria produce glues that facilitate the formation of microaggregates – small clumps of bacteria, organic matter and soil particles (sand, silt and clay). Fungal hyphae then bind these microaggregates together forming larger clumps, known as macroaggregates. As more materials are bound together, voids are created and structure is formed.
Resistance to Soil Erosion by Wind: A well structured soil is more able to resist wind erosion than an unstructured desert soil, which is easily blown away.
Resistance to Soil Erosion by Water: A well structured soil allows excess water to flow through it. In a compacted soil, however, water logging occurs above the compaction layer and if a gradient exists, the saturated soil is able to move and is often washed-away into rivers and oceans. Beneficial microorganisms can deconstruct existing compaction layers and prevent the formation of new ones.
Reduced Irrigation Requirements: A well structured soil, with high organic matter content, acts like a sponge holding water for extended periods of time. This, coupled with the fact that plant roots are able to penetrate much deeper in a structured soil, means that irrigation requirements can be halved in year one (in some cases), when the soil food web is successfully restored. This is the case in sandy soils where water holding capacity is usually very low. In clay soils, water logging is very common. This is due to the fact that clay particles, or platelets, are flat and frequently stack closely together, resulting in compaction layers. With the presence of the Soil Food Web, the process of flocculation takes place, which results in clay particles repelling each other, thus enabling compaction layers to be broken-up and structure to form.
This Playlist:How it Works
The Soil Food Web In this series of animations, you will discover how the Soil Food Web …
Nutrient Cycling This is the process by which beneficial microorganisms harvest nutrients…
The Formation of Structure Beneficial bacteria produce glues that facilitate the formation…
Weed Suppression The presence of beneficial fungi in the soil has been shown…
Inhibiting Pests and Diseases The vast majority of disease-causing microorganisms are anaerobes…
Soil Carbon Sequestration Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. Soil carbon…
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