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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: microbes

Soil microbes are microscopic organisms including protozoa, bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi. Microbes are not directly simulated here, but some of the effects they have on the soil are simulated indirectly. So factors that affect the health of microbial populations affect their products. In this simulation microbes do the following: 1) They mineralize N, P and C from organic compounds in the humus (organic matter), which means they break down the organic forms to mineral forms. The "flat residue" compartment for decomposing organic matter is assumed to include some microbial biomass, or live microbes. When part of the flat residue decays to organic matter during mineralization, the bodies of the microbes are decomposing. 2) Simulated aerobic bacteria are responsible for nitrifying ammonia to nitrate. 3) Simulated anaerobic bacteria dentrify nitrate to ammonia. 4) Bacteria are also assumed to exist when nitrogen fixation by leguminous plants takes place, and conditions for their survival affect N fixation.

Soil macrobes are larger organisms we can see -- invertebrates (e.g., earthworms, insects) and vertebrates (e.g., mice). This simulation ignores macrobes completely, though they can be important to the soil ecosystem.

How it works:
nutrient cycling

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.