You are what you eat and same goes for bacteria

We are part of the Carbon Cycle
Many of us take soil for granted. Those who live in a city rarely encounter soil except in artificial ways, yet soil microbes are essential to maintain life as we know it on Earth. Scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory(U of Chicago) have been studying how soil bacteria utilize various forms of carbon.

The bacteria studied were anaerobic or non-oxygen using bacteria. The anaerobic bacteria were provided with three different types of carbon – glucose, lactate and acetate. Glucose is the most complex of the three. The researchers found that when the soil bacteria were provided with glucose as an energy source, they produced the most complex substances as by products.

This is important because by producing more complex by products a more complex community of microbes could live in the soil, adding further break down products and even more complexity to the soil.

Complex plants, many of which provide food for humans need complex soil to grow well. While artificial nutrients can be added to artificially grown plants, the majority of food crops are grown in soil, outside and dependent on the soil for their nutrition.

 “We’ve illustrated that as microorganisms alter their environment, their environment then affects the type of microorganisms that are there and their activity.” Argonne researcher

Farmers will be facing many challenges as the Earth’s climate changes. Heat or lack of it affects microbial growth. Some farmers have opted to use pesticides and herbicides on their fields inadvertently affecting the microbial communities. With this latest research a little more information is now available about these tiny engineers of the carbon cycle.

Further Reading:

Argonne National Laboratory            

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