Roles of Fungi and Bacteria in Nutrient Cycling

Roles of Fungi and Bacteria in Nutrient Cycling 

A nutrient cycle describes the movement and exchange of natural and synthetic matter back into the production of living systems. Food web pathways control the procedure which disintegrates organic matter into available nutrients. Organic matter is recycled in an ecosystem by decomposers. Decomposers are microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi that break down the raw material in the remains of plants and animals. As the decomposers prey on the dead elements, they break down the natural compounds right into simple nutrients. These nutrients are returned to the soil and could be reused again by living plants and transferred to animals when the plants are consumed as feed. Once this happens the energy supply chain starts once again.

Bacteria and fungi generate bio-synthetic catalysts called enzymes that digest the dead material. The absorbed product then offers a food source for other organisms in the soil which makes the role of a decomposer very important in an environment. Without them, organic matter would pile up on the ground as well as plants would certainly not get the required nutrients necessary for their survival. The decomposing nature of microorganisms enhances microbial activity in the soil resulting in greater biodiversity. Both fungi and bacteria are responsible for the disintegration of plant deposits as well as the release of plant nutrients. However, they have different functions in the recycling of nutrients because of their difference in mode of nutrition, the type of organisms they feed on and choice of habitat in the soil. Therefore, the equilibrium of fungus and bacterium in the soil is necessary for optimal performance.

  1. Roles of Fungi in Nutrient Recycling.

Nutrient cycling involves the constant supply, capturing, replenishment and the distribution of carbon as well as minerals. Energy derived from carbon is the fundamental requirement for the vitality of ecological communities. Fungi benefit ecological communities using their huge vegetative part (mycelium) to facilitate nutrient capturing and productive collaborations with plants and animals for a sustainable ecosystem. The captured nutrients carbon and various other nutrients (e.g., phosphorus, nitrogen, sulfur, copper and so on) are released for consumption.

Fungi Aids Decomposition of Organic Matter

The fungus thrives well in a moist environment and could be discovered as single-celled organisms, like yeast, which is unseen to the naked eye, and as multiple-celled microorganisms, like mushrooms, which consists of branching filaments called "hyphae." Fungi are so extensive that they comprise a large percentage of the biomass in any ecosystem. Decomposition of complex organic materials, such as cellulose and lignin aids digestibility of the organic materials by invertebrates. Fungus release digestive minerals that are used to process complex organic substances into dissolved mineral compounds, such as carbonates, nitrates, and phosphates. Higher animals process feed inside their systems, fungi process feed outside of their "bodies" and subsequently take in the nutritional value into their cells.

Symbiosis Role of Fungi

Mycorrhizae fungi develops synergistic cooperations with plants through what is known as the "soil-borne root fungus" connected with plant roots. The plant nourishes the fungus and the fungus nourishes the plant as this is mutually beneficial because it facilitates the transfer of nutrients from the soil into plant roots, and the fungus is compensated by obtaining and utilizing CO2 released by algae during photosynthesis. Fungi store carbon in the soil and for that reason is not released as carbon dioxide. It is assumed that plants were the only resource of carbon for mycorrhizal fungi. Functional ecology reveals that mycorrhizal fungi can actively disintegrate organic carbon, and as a result play a much more substantial duty in loss of carbon as well as input from the soil than previously assumed. The association of fungus with algae referred to as lichens benefits cyanobacteria by giving shelter which then makes energy for lichens using photosynthesis.

  1. Roles of Bacteria in Nutrient Recycling

Bacteria execute the breaking down of organic residues from inorganic enzymes secreted in the soil. The decomposing bacteria take in simple sugars and direct carbon compounds, such as exudates of plant root and fresh plant litter.  Bacteria belonging to the mutualism group such as nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Rhizobia) create partnerships with plants. Lithotrophs or chemo-autotrophs bacteria acquire energy from compounds of nitrogen, sulfur, iron, or hydrogen rather than from carbon compounds. Several of these types are essential to the nitrogen cycle and degradation of contaminants. Bacteria feed on soil organic matter and other substances to transform them into components that can be used by other organisms. Bacteria live in a humid places and are countless in numbers, they can recreate faster and could survive harsh conditions compared to other microorganisms in the world. Their large biomass convenience, as well as capability to recycle chemical elements make them an essential component of the environments. This is true especially in extreme conditions, where bacteria perform work generally done by a variety of organisms.

Bacterial microorganism groups form an essential component of the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Like plants, photoautotrophs as well as chemoautotrophs take carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into free carbon. Chemo-heterotrophs play an opposite role in the carbon cycle, releasing carbon dioxide into the system when they decompose raw material and which is also important in the nitrogen cycle since the extracellular digestion of organic matter transforms soluble nitrogen right into the environment, where it can be taken up by plants and nitrogen-fixing rhizobium which are a crucial component of the nitrogen cycle. Atmospheric nitrogen is ineffective to living organisms but often binds to hydrogen forming substances such as ammonia (NH3+) and ammonium (NH4+). However, a lot of plants could not utilize ammonia. Therefore, nitrifying microorganisms, transform ammonium ion into oxygen compounds such as nitrite (NO2-) and then to nitrate (NO3-), which assists plants in their growth and development. These rhizobia are fixed in the root nodules of legumes and supply the nitrates to the plant; animals eat up the plant to gain their energy as heterotrophs. Moreover, denitrifying bacteria transform nitrates back to pure nitrogen gas, as this process is catalyzed by facultative anaerobes.

Microorganisms increase plant growth and yields

            The truth is certain, that by combining the use of fungi and bacteria into your cannabis growing practices you will see increased plant growth and yields. By using powerful inoculums such as BioRhize and MycoRhize to insert Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria and Mycorrhizae fungi into your roots, you will undoubtedly see these increases in plant efficiency yourself!

 (Left plant treated with one application of MycoRhize vs. Control, 7 days after transplant)



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“Understanding Soil Microbes and Nutrient Recycling.” Lichens, 7 Sept. 2010,