Submitted to: North Central Extension Industry Soil Fertility Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2003
Publication Date: 11/19/2003
Citation: WRIGHT, S.E. THE IMPORTANCE OF SOIL MICROORGANISMS IN AGGREGATE STABILITY. NORTH CENTRAL EXTENSION INDUSTRY SOIL FERTILITY CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS. VOL. 19:93-98. 2003.
Interpretive Summary: Soil stability affects soil and environmental quality. Soils with good structural stability generally are productive and can sustain high levels of productivity. Good soil structure also is a deterent to erosion by water and wind. Producers need to understand how microbes influence soil stability and methods to manage the microbes. This paper describes inputs to aggregate stability by fungi. Two groups of beneficial fungi are discussed - those that grow on plant litter and those that grow on living plant roots. The by-products produced by these groups of fungi are closely linked to aggregate stability. An understanding of importance of managing soil microorganisms will help producers maintain productivity and soil quality.
Technical Abstract: Aggregate stability is a soil quality factor. Water stability of aggregates is related to microbial activity. This paper reviews microbial inputs to aggregate stability. Soil fungi have long hair-like projections, hyphae that can physically entangle soil particles and exude glues. Microbial glues are discussed with special emphasis on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and the glue-like compound, glomalin, produced on hyphae of this group of fungi. Influences of management practices on AM fungi are discussed.