Bacterial Biofilms

Bacterial Biofilms

Biofilm| Bacterias Natural State When we think of bacteria, beneficial or pathogenic, we imagine a single celled creature swimming independently looking for food. In actuality a bacteria’s natural state is in biofilms, referred to as  plaque or “slime”. The majority of all bacteria on Earth are located in biofim slime, thriving as complex colonies of co-dependent microbes in its self made matrix complete with irrigation and nutrient pathways. Slime or matrix associated microorganisms vastly outnumber organisms in suspension. These surface-bound bacteria behave quite differently from their planktonic counterparts. Planctonic is the word used to describe a free swimming individual bacteria in suspension. I have recently come across a super interesting article in Science Daily. It concerns biofilms forming when individual cells overproduce a polymer that sticks the cells together, allowing the colonization of liquid surfaces. While production of the polymer is metabolically costly to individual cells, the biofilm group benefits from the increased access to oxygen that surface colonization provides. The new findings are reported by Michael Brockhurst of the University of Liverpool. It is a “Must Read” for us all. How Biofilms Move Biofilm bacteria adhere to a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance, referred to as plaque or “slime”. The slime layer is composed of polysaccharides and proteins. It becomes a matrix where a great variety of waste digesting microbes are found in it’s stratified aerobic and anaerobic settings. Typical organisms include heterotrophic bacteria, nitrifying bacteria nitrosomonas and nitrobactor. The process of surface adhesion and biofilm development is a survival strategy employed by virtually all bacteria and refined over millions of years. This process is designed to anchor microorganisms in a nutritionally advantageous environment and to permit their escape to greener pastures when essential growth factors have been exhausted.  The biofilm protects its inhabitants from predators, dehydration, biocides, and other environmental extremes while regulating population growth and diversity through primitive cell signals. But don’t let your imagination rest there. Image… these creatures express different genes when in a communal setting. They change mode depending on what it’s new purpose is. This supports a higher growth potential, as well as improving efficiency of nutrients reaching desired cells via irrigation type pathways. When fully hydrated, the maytix is predominantly water. In essence, the matrix ia a 3D force field that surrounds, anchors, and protects the bacterial colony. Biofilms | Integral Component In our hydro-tanks as in all of natures settings, biofilms are an integral component of the environment. The report, Global Environmental Change: Microbial Contributions, Microbial Solutions, points out: “. . .the basic chemistry of Earth’s surface is determined by biological activity, especially that of the many trillions of microbes in soil and water. Microbes make up the majority of the living biomass on Earth and, as such, have major roles in the recycling of elements vital to life.” Bacteria are early colonizers of clean surfaces submerged in water.  While some bacteria produce effects that are detrimental to surrounding organisms or hosts, most bacteria are harmless or even beneficial. Aerobic biofilms require water, oxygen and a nutrient food source to maintain cell function. Microbial metabolism causes biodegradation of organic matter and production of metabolic by-products including carbon dioxide (CO2) and deceased micro-organisms. Deceased biofilm components slough off the surface of active biofilm by water turbulence, mechanical sloughing and morph in changing environmental...

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Bacterial Biofilm Water & Ground Treatment

Bacterial Biofilm Water & Ground Treatment

The below article is courtesy of http://biofilmbook.hypertextbookshop.com. It demonstrates two practical uses of a bacterial biofilm. Normally people encounter biofilm (slim) and really don’t know what it is. We all have seen it in it’s worst light. Having a bacterial biofilm on our hydro tanks does pose certain physical problems. It could clog pump lines, for example. But it also has it’s benefits. It is a nitrification dynamo turning organic carbon complexes into simple, soluable nutrients while keeping bacterial pathogens at bay. Water and Wastewater Treatment Engineers have taken advantage of natural biofilm environmental activity in developing water-cleaning systems. Biofilms have been used successfully in water and wastewater treatment for over a century. English engineers developed the first sand filter treatment methods for both water and wastewater treatment in the 1860s. In these filtration systems the surfaces of the filter media act as a support for microbial attachment and growth, resulting in a biofilm adapted to using the organic matter found in that particular water. The end result of biological filtration is a conversion of organic carbon in the water into bacterial biomass. Ideally, this biomass is immobilized on the filter media and removed during the backwash cycle. Drinking water and treated wastewater that have been subjected to microbial activity in a controlled manner in a treatment plant are more “biologically stable” and therefore less likely to contribute to microbial proliferation downstream in distribution system or receiving water. Biologically treated water typically has lower disinfectant demand and disinfection by-product formation potential than conventionally treated water if the source water is high in organic carbon. As drinking water utilities move to using ozone as a primary disinfectant and for taste/odor/color control, biological filters may be necessary to reduce the concentrations of biodegradable organic carbon entering the distribution system. Remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater In soil, biofilm morphology can be highly variable, ranging from patchy discontinuous colonies to thick continuous films, depending on environmental conditions. When toxic organic contaminants (i.e. gasoline, fuel oil, chlorinated solvents) are accidentally released underground, the native soil bacterial population will, to the degree possible, adjust their ecological composition in order to use the organic contaminants as a food source. This process is commonly referred to as “bioremediation” and if successful, potentially has the ability to render initially toxic organic material into harmless by-products. Typical biofilm cell densities found in the vicinity of contaminated ground water sites vary from around 105 to 108 cells per gram of soil. Bioremediation has emerged as a technology of choice for remediating groundwater and soil at many sites contaminated with hazardous wastes. Bioremediation results in 1) the reduction of both contaminant concentration and mass for many subsurface contaminants (e.g., petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated organics and nitroaromatics) and/or 2) a beneficial phase transfer or speciation change (e.g., for heavy metals and radionuclides). Subsurface bioremediation is controlled by abiotic geochemical and transport phenomena, including multiphase flow, convective mass transport, adsorption/desorption, and phase partitioning, as well as biotic processes, such as microbial biomass growth and contaminant metabolism. Above article courtesy of...

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Mycorrhizal Fungus

Mycorrhizal Fungus

Mycorrhizal Fungus is one of the most researched fungi. It  has long been recognized as a very important component to plant health. It maintains a symbiotic relationship to more than 80% of all plants. With it’s extensive hyphae network of pseudo-roots, it increases plant water and nutrient uptake 10 to 1000 times. This is why a well planed live organic growing system can create plants bigger, healthier and more nutritious than any chemical regime in existence. This is not an advertising hype, nor an eco-nut rant. One thing however must be soberly understood. A well educated grower in traditional synthetic based program will outperform a novice organic grower. A good basic knowledge and a lot of care must go into an organic operation, just like all operations. Technical organic knowledge is being defined more and more everyday and should be kept up with for maximum benefits and results. Mycorrhizal benefits to plant growth can not be duplicated artificially. Mycorrhizal fungi are involved with a wide variety of important activities that benefit plant growth. The biological interplay is just too intense, complex and extensive to duplicate. It would be like trying to put together an organism with chemicals. It will always be way beyond human capacity and understanding. But with a new understanding of these limits the mystery of organics in nature can be applied with the same technical skill as trying to duplicate nature, with interesting results. A very good report was written  by Michael P. Amaranthus, Ph.D. originally appeared in The Spring 1999 issue of Florida Landscape Architecture...

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Trichoderma | Astonishing Fungi

Trichoderma |  Astonishing Fungi

Trichoderma Fungus General Description The fungus Trichoderma is a filamentous, free-living fungi that are common in most soils and root ecosystems worldwide. Trichoderma have been found in prairies, forests, salt marshes, desert sands, lake water, dead plant material, seeds and air. They are also found in living roots of virtually any plant (1). Biocontrolfungi of Trichoderma have developed an astonishing ability to interact, both parasitically and symbiotically, in a variety of substrates, plants and with other microbes (2,3). Today Trichodermas is used more extensively in agriculture than any other single microbe. There are many effective Trichoderma species. So far, there are only 7 important Trichoderma species used commercially but more are being added to the list every year. Trichoderma asperellum Trichoderma harzianum Trichoderma hamatum Trichoderma koningii Trichoderma longibrachiatum Trichoderma pseudokoningii Trichoderma viride Trichoderma Fungus Mode of Action Trichoderma’s first claim to fame a few years ago was being a microbial predator, highly antagonistic of other fungus. They are specialists at killing other fungi with a  toxin. They then consume their prey by dissolving them with an exudent of lytic enzymes. This predatory behavior has led to their use to control other fungi plant disease. Interestingly enough it does not seam to have a negative influences over mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhyzal is another very beneficial fungus in the rhysophere. Cornell University’s recent research is quite interesting. It has found that Trichoderma’s disease control function is only the tip of the iceberg. In actuality, Trichoderma has a quite well defined symbiotic relationship with plant roots. They not only inhibit other fungus but supplying nitrogen to plant roots much like mycorrhizal fungus Trichoderma establish robust and long-lasting colonizations of root surfaces and penetrate into the epidermis and a few cells below this level. It then release different compounds that induce localized or systemic resistance responses. This explains their lack of pathogenicity to plants. These root–microorganism associations cause substantial changes to the plant proteome and metabolism. A recent discovery in several labs is that some strains induce plants to “turn on” their native defense mechanisms gives the impression that Thrichoderma will also control pathogens other than fungi. Plants are protected from numerous classes of plant pathogen by responses that are similar to systemic acquired resistance and rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance. Trichoderma Fungus Mode of Application Trichoderma is normally supplied as a culture developed on softened rice. Place a kilo of this inoculated rice in a pale of de-chlorinated water along with 5ml of any available surface tension breaker. Let it sit for an hour or so as to let the rice soften further. Grind the rice between your hands to liberate the fungus from the rice. Do this grinding for a few minutes until the Trichoderma is practically all washed off of the rice. The rice will be a much lighter shade of blue-green at this point. Strain the liquid in a fine meshed food strainer to take out the larger chunks of rice. This is important only if you are going to be spraying the liquid on the phylosphere of the plants for fungal control, so the spray head doesn’t clog. If it is to be applied as a drench on roots, obviously there is no need for pre-straining. References 1. Monte, E. 2001. Understanding Trichoderma: Between biotechnology and microbial ecology. Int. Microbiol. 4:1-4. 3. Harman, G. E., and Kubicek, C. P. 1998. Trichoderma and Gliocladium, Vol. 2. Enzymes, Biological Control and Commercial Applications. Taylor & Francis, London. 3. Kubicek, C. P., and Harman, G. E. 1998. Trichoderma and Gliocladium. Vol. 1. Basic Biology, Taxonomy and Genetics. Taylor & Francis,...

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Cellulomonas Bacteria

Cellulomonas Bacteria

Research has found that plant photosynthesis produces up to 1.5 1011 tons of dry plant material on earth every year. This huge amount of plant material is primarily composed of plant cell wall polymers of lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin. The degradation of these enormous amounts of plant cell wall polymers is carried out by microorganisms, the most important being the aerobic Cellomonas Bacteria. This bacteria uses a series of exudents containing enzymes that are specially effective at breaking down cellulose walls. Cellulomonas fimi was one of the first bacteria to have it’s DNA sequence mapped. It therefore is one of the most researched bacteria. Breaking down cell walls is one of the most important phenomenons in fermentation and bacteria activity. Understanding more would help industries such as pulp and paper. Berkeley Lab tests double-threat microorganisms that can tolerate alkali and break down cellulose The only truly practical bio-fuels will be those made from abundant feedstock like switch-grass, wheat straw, and other woody plants, whose cell walls consist of lignocellulose. After pretreatment to remove or reduce the lignin, the sugary remains of cellulose and hemicellulose are fermented by microorganisms to yield the bio-fuel. “Each additional step in the process adds to the cost,” says Michael Cohen, a visiting professor of biology at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of bio-fuel processing. “The species of bacteria we’re testing may be able to combine two important steps into one.” Cohen found the unique strain of bacteria, which can tolerate high alkalinity and degrade cellulose at the same time, in a strange and isolated part of California called The Cedars, located inland from Timber Cove in the state’s Outer Coast Range. The site’s deep canyons and rocky serpentine barrens, all but invisible from the area’s few public roads, create a biological island that is home to living things rarely seen elsewhere. Eroding serpentine rock in The Cedars creates highly alkaline springs. Lignin in plant matter that falls into the springs is attacked by the alkalinity, while alkili-tolerant strains of Cellulomonas and other microorganisms break down the cellulose and process the...

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Actinomycetes

Actinomycetes

So just when you thought you knew the difference between a fungus and a bacteria… you learn about actinomycetes bacteria. Actinomycetes Bacteria- is a Cellulomonas Bacteria obtaining its name of fame by being very different from other bacteria. It is actually very fungus like because of its long extending hyphae filaments. It is one of the only bacterias that can break down recalcitrant compounds such as cellulose and chitin as a food source. Therefore this makes it a good component of and beneficial microorganism inoculation community. During the process of composting mainly thermophilic (adapted to high temperatures) and thermotolerant actinomycetes are responsible for decomposition of the organic matter at elevated temperatures. In the initial phase of composting the intensive increase of microbial activity leads to a self heating of the organic material. Actinomycetes, like fungi reproduce via spores. The hyphal growth is followed by fragmentation and release of spores produced...

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Lactobascillus Bacteria

Lactobascillus Bacteria

Lactobascillus Bacteria- is rod-shaped workhorse of decomposing organic plant material into smaller units for plant uptake. Any and all organic growers must have this bacterial superstar at hand for inoculating organic soil if that is the medium for your plants propagation.  It acquired its name because its members convert sugars of lactose into lactic acid. The production of lactic acid makes its surroundings where it id busy breaking down decaying plant parts acidic. This checks the growth of other pathogenic bacteria. Depending on the species they have a lifespan from a half to four hours. They are found everywhere and can be cultured by placing water over rice wash, letting it sit for a week and adding milk. The milk will kill all other bacteria other than Lactobasillus. They are used in the production of yoghurt, cheese, kimchi, chocolate, beer, wine, cider, organic fertilizers and...

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Bean Seed Inoculation | Rhizobium Bacteria

Bean Seed Inoculation | Rhizobium Bacteria

Beans Produce their Own Fertilizer Bean Seed Inoculation helps legumes such as peas and beans to “fix” their own nitrogen. Beans produce much of their own nitrogen needs via a symbiotic relationship with a group of  bacteria called rhizobacteria or rhizobium. Rhizobium is a soil bacteria that fix nitrogen for legume plants. Our atmosphere contains more than 75% nitrogen gas (N2).  They convert the nitrogen gas in the atmosphere into ammonia nitrogen NH3+, a form usable by the plant.  Bean Seed Inoculation is important so as to ensure this bacteria-root dance. Colorado State University has a very well written page on Bean Seed Inoculation, if you are interested in reading the technical description of this process. Inoculating the seeds with Rhizobium bacteria before planting is helpful. Multifaceted Symbiosis All legumes, including beans, interact with the Rhizobium and interchanging metabolic fluids. Legume plants have the ability to form a symbiotic relationship with rhizobium bacteria. Inside the nodules, the bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to ammonia NH3+, providing organic nitrogenous compounds to the plant. In return, the plant provides the bacteria with organic compounds made by photosynthesis. The bean’s roots exude certain carbohydrates for the bacteria and in return the bacteria produce nutrients. The carbohydrates are basic food stuffs for the bacteria. This encourages the rhizobia to adhere to it. The bacteria multiply on the roots surface and cause more root hairs to grow. On these root hairs begins a process called ‘nodule formation”. The bacteria colonize plant cells within root nodules. Inside these small tumors the bacteria induce specialized genes required for nitrogen fixation. This important function allows bean plants to convert nitrogen from the gaseous form found in the air N2, into a usable form. This allows beans to use this nitrogen for plant growth. Without these beneficial bacteria, beans cannot fix nitrogen. Soils normally do not contain many rhizobium bacteria. So it is necessary to inoculate the legume with the proper strains of bacteria prior to planting the seeds. Bean Seed Inoculation is a low-cost process which returns benefits many times higher than the costs. Bean Seed Inoculation | Rhizobium Bacteria Bean Seed Inoculation couldn’t be easier. There is no special procedure really. Take 500ml of the OST Rhizobium, which contains at least 109 rizobios/gram and add 2 tablespoons of crude sugar. Place your seeds in it for a few minutes. Some seeds like a dunking for a few hours. This all depends on the state of the seeds being planted. Imported, older seeds could need a bit more time to hydrate than fresh seeds recently harvested. Afterwards, just plant the seeds. There is no drenching of soil or anything more to do. If your supply of the inoculate is limited, then you might want to reuse the liquid. Store it away in a cool place for the next batch. It’ is always better to store your containers of fungus and bacterias in the refrigerator if your not performing Bean Seed Inoculation...

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Nitrogen | Cycling Down

Nitrogen | Cycling Down

“Nitrogen is a vital element of all proteins, and therefore is essential for all plant life.” A Plants Nitrogen Cycle in a Nutshell: Deceased, rotting proteins housing organic nitrogen, is broken down by microbes to liberate ammonia, that is oxidized by bacteria into nitrite, after which it is further oxidized by other types of bacteria, so that it may then be absorbed by plants in the form of nitrate. Nitrogen the Unavailable Abundant Element We have a considerable availability of nitrogen within the planet’s atmosphere, which is 79% N2. Nonetheless, the nitrogen in the air is not available to be used by most microorganisms since there is the three-way bond amongst the 2 nitrogen atoms, leaving that molecule practically inert. To ensure that nitrogen is to be utilized for growth it needs to be fixed in a form of ammonium or nitrate. One way this can be fixed is with atmospheric nitrogen through legumes via their symbiosis with certain bacteria. The genera of bacteria which accomplish this form of nitrogen fixing are Azotobacter, Clostridium, Azospirillum and Rhizobium. All these live within the soil, except for the Rhizobium. They in fact reside inside the roots of  legumes, in which they will form noticeable nodules. More Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Diazotrophic Information Then there is Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus (formerly Acetobacter diazotrophicus) which is a bacilli, aerobic, obligate endophytic (an endosymbiont), diazotrophic (bacteria that fix atmospheric N) bacterium discovered by Joana Dobereiner (1924 to 2000).  It has been undergoing lab and field tests in research institutions around the globe for the past 50 years. Nitrogen’s Versatility Nitrogen might possibly enjoy the distinction for being the element that can occur in the most diverse oxidation states. You will find nitrogen can have 9 distinct oxidation states. Only 3 of those 9 states, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite, are part of the diagram below demonstrating the nitrogen cycle.  From the plant’s point of view, the main thing is to cycle down nutrients till they are immobilized within the body of bacteria and fungi. The most crucial of such nutrients is nitrogen being the fundamental building block of proteins and, therefor life. This biomass of fungi and bacteria establishes, the volume of nitrogen that may be accessible for plants. Nitrogen’s Five Movements There are 5 movements in the nitrogen cycle, all accomplished by microbes… fixation, uptake, mineralization, nitrification, and denitrification. Nitrogen fixation…  N2 to NH4+ Nitrogen uptake… NH4+ to Organic N Nitrogen mineralization… Organic N to NH4+ Nitrification… NH4+ to NO3– Denitrification… NO3– to NO2– then to NO then to N2O lastly to N2. . There is a step missing in the above diagram. Can you spot it?. The missing step is associated with the very top circle Ammonia NH3+. Ammonia is NH3 not NH3+, and there is a missing step from NH3 to NH4+ before the bacterial oxidation to NO2-. To find out the difference in Ammonia forms, read the article in the below link. Ammonia vs Ammonium The Difference   Recent Research | Bacteria Fungal Nitrogen Cycle It was not till the eighties that researchers could properly determine the level of bacteria and fungi in the earth’s soils.For the first time Dr. Elaine Ingham at Oregon University published research which demonstrated the ratio of these two microorganisms in several kinds of soils. Normally, the least disrupted earth experienced much more fungus compared to bacteria, whilst disrupted soils possessed much more bacteria than fungus. Dr. Ingham additionally observed a relationship among plants and their inclination for soils which were dominated by fungus vs  the ones that were dominated by bacterial. Generally, perennials, trees, and shrubs prefer soils dominated by fungus, whilst...

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Fungus Gnats | Diptera Mycetophilidae

Fungus Gnats | Diptera Mycetophilidae

Fungus Gnats or Root Gnats are two common names for a few flying insects Diptera Mycetophilidae, Lycoriella spp. or Bradysia spp. These are arthropods that might be a nuisance flying around haphazardly knocking into leaves and the sides of your pots. I use organic substrates and I hate those critters. Growers using traditional hydroponic (using no substrate inoculates) see them a lot less. The adult fly is feasting on small pieces of organic matter breaking it down for even smaller organisms to mineralize. I hate gnats because once they have moved in, they are hard to move out. The adults are in-your-face but upon closer inspection you will find their larvae in the first few centimeters of your substrate. The larvae are so small you can barely see them with the naked eye. They feed on fungus for their livelihood. They also can get aggressive and do damage to some small root hairs as well.  It’s a dog eat dog, arthropod eat fungus world down their. Just be thankful your not part of the food chain. Identifying Fungus Gnats Fungus Gnats are darker and appear delicate, similar in appearance to small mosquitoes. You will first see the adults scampering around bottom leaves, the surface of the soil or the edge of your container. Females lay small, unnoticeable eggs in moist, organic potting soil. The adults are weak fliers often stumbling up on a leaf’s surface. If the adults are present you can count on having the larva down under, perhaps even eating your tips. The small squares in the image of gnat larvae to the right, are one mm square. Controlling Fungus Gnats Organically Prevention is the best method for the control of pesky pests Inoculate the substrate with Bacillus thuringiensis Place a barrier of some sort Reenforce the barrier with an organic deterrent Once infested place sticky glue on surfaces Ten days latter… NO more gnats! Controlling Fungus Gnats Organically, believe it or not, is a snap! For prevention I put a bacteria to work right away upon planting. It takes a while after any microbial inoculation for the microbes to dig-in and reproduce, so upon planting, before gnats appear, is a good time to inoculate. The biological predator Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, commonly called BTI is toxic to the larvae. Researchers investigated how this bacteria kills particular insects and discovered that BTI has two classes of toxins; cytolysins (Cyt) and crystal delta-endotoxins (Cyt)[1]. Cyt proteins are toxic towards Diptera. As a toxic mechanism, Cyt proteins bind to specific receptors on the membranes of mid-gut cells resulting in rupture of those cells[2]. Another preventative, of which I highly recommend, is to discourage the adult fungus gnats from laying eggs with a barrier to its nesting grounds, the substrate.  I have seen people place a half centimeter layer of clean sand on the substrates surface. However, I place a solid poly-barrier between the riotous mob and our organic substrate. The CO2 from the roots metabolism can escape but there are few holes a gnat can enter.It’s easy and an inherent part of our system. Around the hole from which the plant stem protrudes from, place a deterrent like neem oil or/and pyrethrins. These will not decay and create more fungus food for the fungus gnats to eat. I was told there are two types of hot peppers. One is very hot, the other BURNS. I use the one that burns like fire, but the gnats barely noticed. Two days later the accumulation of a few spraying of hot pepper must of produced fungus. It was being eaten by the...

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Aerobic And Anaerobic Bacteria

Aerobic And Anaerobic Bacteria

Anaerobic Bacteria The first and most common bacteria would be the anaerobic bacteria, Obligate Anaerobes. They are capable of living in places void of O2 and most will die in the presence of oxygen. Some agile bacteria are Facultative Anaerobes. These are able to live both in and out of an oxygen laden atmosphere but they are rare microbes. Clostridium, for example, is one bacterial genes that does not need oxygen to survive. Everyone’s smelled anaerobic decomposition inside the refrigerator on occasions. So to, we have all smelled the offensive odor of this culprit coming from an old garbage can. Byproducts of their anaerobic decay involve hydrogen sulfide which smells like rotten eggs, butyric acid which smells like vomit, ammonia which will set our nostrils reeling, and vinegar. Anaerobic conditions foster pathogenic bacteria and kill off beneficial aerobic bacteria. . Aerobic Bacteria The second bacteria type and the most important for live organic horticulture, is the aerobic bacteria, or Obligate Aerobes. Though respiration is crucial to life, the precise function that oxygen plays to maintain life is not readily understood. Essentially, in a microorganism that is capable of using it, O2 enables food compounds to be totally digested. This ensures that every possible amount of energy will be  used for maintaining the cell. So the aerobic bacteria have the advantage of metabolic efficiency. Aerobic bacteria can create twenty times more energy, with the equivalent amount of organic compounds, than anaerobic bacteria. What is more, aerobic bacteria aren’t generally known to produce horrible odors. One bacteria in the order of Actinomycetales, genus Streptomyces called actinomycetes, generate enzymes with volatile compounds which gives earth a fresh, clean smell. This is the good quality soil we smell when we instinctively hold a fist full of substrate up to our nose. Interesting how harmonious bacteria agree with us instinctually. Life is good! Good life is king. Thank God....

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Bacteria Foods and Assimilation

Bacteria Foods and Assimilation

Plant root excretions called exudates are one of the three main staples of food for beneficial, symbiotic bacteria. Therefore large colonies are gathered in the rhizosphere, the area surrounding plant roots. In the rhizophere there are additional foods. The plant cell’s root-tip sheds cell parts during its development and growth, which holds nutritional value for the bacteria when decomposed. The third most important food for bacteria is the animal and plant organic compounds that set the bacteria decomposing the larger compounds. This is the dynamo behind the nitrogen and carbon cycle. Food Groups of Bacteria Organic compounds are a composite of long complex molecules. Like beads on a necklace, these complexes are attached end to end. The individual beads are made up of small molecules containing carbon.  Bacteria decompose the carbon complex bonds between each bead along certain points in the chain. So smaller chains are created made up of simple sugars, fats and amino acids. These 3 classes of substances are the fundamental groups of food bacteria will need to support themselves. Bacteria employ digestive enzymes to snap the bonds keeping the beads in the carbon necklace together. This all takes place outside of the bacteria prior to consumption. Many different types of digestive enzymes are produced  and implemented by these microbes. During their 3 billion years of evolution here on Earth, bacteria have adapted so well, they are able to digest organic as well as inorganic materials. What amazes me is that they can so effectively digest all sorts of materials while maintaining the integrity of their own cell walls. Nitrogenous Bacterial Food Different species of bacterias live on different food resources, according to what’s accessible. Nearly all bacteria are happier decomposing fresh vegetative materials, that us composers call “greens”, Nitrogenous Materials. You probably have heard of the Carbon/Nitrogen (C/N) ratio when learning how to create compost. A 20/1 ratio is normally recommended for the balance of tough carbon fibers vs soft nitrogenous material. Bacteria use the carbon for producing energy and the nitrogen for protein production. Composters refer to the carbon (tree leaves and stems) as “browns”, Carbonaceous Material. Before it can be converted into manageable carbon chains for energy, other microbes, normally fungus, need to reduce it. If there is not enough soft, green, nitrogenous materials in the compost mix we end up with little nutrition. Many times we gauge the quality of our compost by the percentage of NPK within. But if their is not enough brown, carbonaceous material in the compost mix, there will not be enough carbohydrates to support the energy level of the microbes at work. Most often it is the dry tree leaves taht provide space and aeration to the compost pile. With little or no air, anaerobic bacteria take over which are pathogenic and harmful to the microbe community, not to mention plants and humans. Bacterial Food Ingestion Bacteria are small and must ingest even smaller pieces of organic matter. So how does a bacteria swallow an elephant? Actually they don’t swallow anything. Bacteria ingest carbohydrates and nutrition right through their cell walls. Their cellular surfaces are made up of proteins that help with this molecular transportation. Within a bacteria’s cell will be a mixture of sugars, proteins, carbons, and charged ions. Molecular transfer through the cellular membrane is actually achieved in a few different ways. Membrane transfer is really an intriguing topic. It is a complex procedure supported by charged electrons found on each side of the tissue layer’s surface. But it is beyond the scope of this article to outline the driving force of osmotic barriers. Yet,...

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