Soil Biology - Microbes: Part I

What’s in a Microbe?

The world of microbes is filled with controversial, if not conflicting information. Farmers and backyard gardeners alike have been led to believe microbes are either ineffective or simply too expensive for the benefit they provide. This impression is understandable given that 1) early products often performed poorly (or not at all) due to poor shelving techniques/practices by the manufacturers and 2) truly effective ones were unapologetically expensive.

We’ll take a deeper dive into microbes over the next several blog posts in an effort to dispel some of those misconceptions, highlight the technology making today’s superior products, discuss microbial product benefits, and share some tips and tricks along the way!

Concentration: Why is it  important?

Concentration of Colony Forming Units (cfus) is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a microbial product. Cfu indicated the number of individual single-celled organisms that are responsible for establishing themselves to a microenvironment, and become responsible for creating colonies in the soil that will then contribute to the system. The higher initial number of cfus directly relates to the number of microbes that maintain themselves over time. Simply looking at the claimed number of cfus on the packaging of microbes can oftentimes tell you all you need  to know. If there is a glaring difference in concentrations between microbes on the package label this can sometimes give an indication of imbalance and an expectation of degradation over time. Understanding what should be expected in the soil vs what will happen when a product is in liquid on the shelf of a retail store is an important part of truly understanding the quality of the product.

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