By: Agur Arredondo • Agriculture Technical Manager • LIVENTIA





More than 95% of food production is done in soil’s surface, which is considered a non-renewable resource because it takes up to twenty thousand years to restore barely an inch of it [1]. This makes the application of strategies to reduce agricultural soil degradation necessary. An Agricultural Soil Microbiology Quality Evaluation allows us to establish the minimum required fertilizing doses, to procure an efficient water employment, and to avoid excessive application of chemicals to treat soil diseases.

Agriculture soil quality is defined by physical, chemical and biological parameters and its interactions, which determine crops’ level of productivity [2]. Higher quality soil easily allows to get more yield, and lower quality soil represents a higher investment of supplies, restoration, or management to achieve desired yield. Image 1.

Image 1. Agriculture soil quality determination.



First of all, we got to speak about soil biological quality, or its health, we will focus on edaphic microbiology (Adj: Relative to the soil). Microorganisms have been unnoticed due to its diminute size; however, they are capable of positive and even negative changes in their environment.
Microorganisms that are good to plants are known as “beneficial” while unwished microorganisms are “fytopathogenic”, which cause damages and diseases to plants, and are responsible for important economical loses[3]. Therefore, it is imperative to establish soil content of different microorganisms species, this can be done with soil laboratory analysis. The analysis identifies and counts the amount of beneficial and fytopathogenic microorganisms. Image 2.


Image 2. Process of soil microbiological analysis.

The most abundant microbes population in soil are bacteria, which can be grouped as shown in the following table:






Fungi are also part of soil biodiversity constitution, we are talking about microoscopic fungi with nutrient unblocking functions. They also combat soil diseases and plagues.



Followed by funggi, yeast can be found in the soil, which keep higher levels of organic matter degradation.


Imagen 2. Soil biodiversity.


Chemical treatments for soil disinfection before sowing, abundant irrigation, and antibiotics application during crop development, reduces beneficial microbiology content, limiting microorganisms positive functions. A strategy to reduce this loss is to incorporate beneficial microorganisms to the soil. One of the most efficient ways to do so, is with standard commercial formulae. Through different studies we have done, it is possible to improve soil microbiology quality, increasing the amount of the main microoganisms groups [4]. Graphics 1 and 2.


The application of beneficial microorganisms to agricultural soil is more relevant into what is known as “Biological fertilization”, so in fact, that now it is a necessity in different crops fertilization plans. Without soil’s life it is impossible to take the most advantage from our plants.



References
1. Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) 2015, web: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/soils-2015/docs/ES/ES_Print_IYS_food.pdf
2. Soil Quality and Health Evaluation Guide (USDA), 1999, web: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1044786.pdf
3. 3. Agriculture Microbiology: Fungi, bacteria, micro and macrofauna, biological control and plant-microorganism. Ronald Ferrera Cerrato and Alejandro Alarcón, ed. Trillas. 2007, ISBN 978-968-24-7810-9.
4. Trial Book LIVENTIA.




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