Composting: The Value of Compost Microorganisms
There are two main classes of compost microorganisms, aerobes, and anaerobes. The aerobes require at least 5 percent oxygen to survive and are the most essential and efficient composting microorganisms. Indeed, aerobes consume organic waste and excrete nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium, the nutrients plants need to thrive. On the other hand, anaerobic microorganisms are bacteria that don’t need oxygen. Additionally, it does not process organic waste as effectively as aerobic bacteria. Anaerobes have toxic chemicals in plants, which cause composting piles to stink since they release hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs.
Furthermore, microorganisms break down organic matter in composting and produce carbon dioxide, water, and heat. The result is richer soil that improves plant growth and health. Hence, according to Cornell University, about 80 to 90 percent of all microorganisms found in compost piles are bacteria. The rest are fungi, which include yeasts and molds. Moreover, other needed creatures, like centipedes, pillbugs, and worms, automatically find their way to the composting pile only if the conditions are right. These organisms break down the organic materials in the compost pile and help turn the waste material into nutrient-rich soil.
Find the best compost container for your indoor and outdoor composting needs.
Microorganisms are essential to the composting method and are found everywhere in the environment. They are tiny living organisms that you can see microscopically. Indeed, life can not exist without them. They are everywhere, soil, water, air, animals, plants, rocks, and human bodies. Microbes are a vital component of the web of life.
They carry out necessary ecological functions, from recycling organic materials to aiding in the carbon and nitrogen cycles. When biologically active microorganisms are present in your soil, which help break down organic matter and refill your soil with nutrients to enhance its structure and quality. This helps plants and grass grow healthier and taller while warding off the potential for disease and pest infestations.
3 Various Compost Microorganism Types
Microorganisms are essential to the composting method and are found everywhere in the environment. They are tiny living organisms that you can see microscopically. Indeed, life can not exist without them. They are everywhere, soil, water, air, animals, plants, rocks, and human bodies. Microbes are a vital component of the web of life. They carry out necessary ecological functions, from recycling organic materials to aiding in the carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Bacteria are one of the tiniest and most abundant microbes found in the soil. Indeed, billions of bacteria have their specific capabilities and roles. And most live in the top 10cm of soil where organic matter is present. They are single-celled organisms that eat virtually anything and makeup 80-90% of all microorganisms in your compost. Hence bacteria use a variety of enzymes to break down organic material by oxidizing it, providing them with the resources needed to grow and reproduce. A by-product of the oxidation process is that heat is generated, creating the ideal conditions for even more voracious microorganisms.
They are higher than bacteria, similar to fungi and molds. They specialize in breaking down more resistant materials such as cellulose, proteins, and starches. It commonly appears in large web-like clusters towards the end of the composting process. They are a large group of bacteria that grow as hyphae-like fungi and are responsible for the pleasant earthy smell of compost. They decompose many substrates but are especially important in degrading hard-to-decompose materials, like cellulose and chitin, and are also active at high pH levels. Indeed, it produced several antibiotics like streptomyces.
Fungi include molds and yeast. They are responsible for breaking down tough debris, enabling bacteria to continue decomposition. They spread and thrive by producing many cells and filaments, and they can attack organic residues that are too dry, acidic, or low in nitrogen for bacterial decomposition. Fungi are essential to composting for degrading recalcitrant compounds, stabilizing organic matter, and releasing nutrients and essential elements beneficial for plant growth and fertility. Fungi are well adapted for decomposition processes due to their filamentous growth, extracellular nutrition, and enzymatic capacities.
Compost Microorganisms: Decomposers At What Level?
1. First Level Decomposers
They are much smaller microorganisms, yet they play a significant role in composting. Indeed, they use the organic materials in the compost bin or heap as a food source, resulting in their decomposition to the rich brown material known as compost. They break down the organic material chemically, in contrast to the physical action of the microorganisms. At the same time, they are present in massive numbers.
2. Second Level Decomposers
They eat the organic matter and the organisms that make up the first-level decomposers. You can use a lens or stereoscopic microscope to see them in detail.
3. Third Level Decomposers
These more giant creatures physically break down the organic material by chewing, tearing, and, in some cases, sucking it into smaller pieces. They work to produce compost.
The Composting Cycle’s Stages
- The mesophilic or moderate temperature lasts for a couple of days.
- The thermophilic, or high-temperature phase, can last from a few days to several months.
- A several-month cooling and maturation phase.
Take Note: Immature compost can be harmful to plants. Indeed, uncured compost contains high levels of organic acids. So make sure to let your compost reach its full maturity.
The Function Of Compost Microbes In Plant Health And Development
Undoubtedly, plants and microbes evolved together for millions of years. Their association is the basic building block for the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. The decomposition process is complex yet natural. Indeed, most organisms break down organic components, mostly not vivid by the human eye. Moreover, a progression of insects and microbes work together. Transforming feedstocks like food waste, leaves, grass clippings, and yard prunings into good compost. Different types of microorganisms predominate during the various composting phases. The key to effective composting is to create an ideal environment for microorganisms to thrive.
Additionally, the microorganisms found in your compost pile, like ants, beetles, centipedes, earthworms, mites, sowbugs, and snails, are physical decomposers. However, bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes are responsible for most organic material breakdown. They are called chemical decomposers since they use chemicals in their bodies to break down organic matter. And the majority of chemical decomposer is aerobic bacteria. Colonizing your garden with helpful microbes may sound complicated. However, it is a simple and sensible way to elevate plant health and productivity.
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