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Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of micro- and macro- organisms that can support plant life. It is a natural body that exists as part of the pedosphere and it performs four important functions: it is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of the atmosphere; and it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition and creation of a habitat for other organisms. Soil is considered the "skin of the earth" with interfaces between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.[1] Soil consists of a solid phase (minerals & organic matter) as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water.[2][3][4] Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three-state system.[5] Overview[edit] Soil is a major component of the Earth's ecosystem. Soils can effectively remove impurities, kill disease agents, and degrade contaminants. History of the study of soil[edit] In 1856 J. Curtis F. Related:  plant communicationSoil

Herbivore A deer and two fawns feeding on foliage A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example foliage, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous animals typically have mouthparts adapted to rasping or grinding. Horses and other herbivores have wide flat teeth that are adapted to grinding grass, tree bark, and other tough plant material. Etymology[edit] Herbivore is the anglicized form of a modern Latin coinage, herbivora, cited in Charles Lyell's 1830 Principles of Geology.[1] Richard Owen employed the anglicized term in an 1854 work on fossil teeth and skeletons.[1] Herbivora is derived from the Latin herba meaning a small plant or herb,[2] and vora, from vorare, to eat or devour.[3] Related concepts and terms[edit] Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs[4] such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. Evolution of herbivory[edit] Food chain[edit]

Conservation tillage: the end of the plough? Conservation tillage: the end of the plough? Farmers around the world plough their land. The practise of turning the soil before planting is so universal that the plough has for centuries been a symbol of agriculture. But, over the last 25 years, more and more farmers have been abandoning their ploughs. The reason is simple. The modern plough, or mouldboard, is a root cause of land degradation - one of the major problems facing agriculture today. Annual average nutrient loss from sub-Saharan African soils is estimated at 24kg/hectare and rising. Yet, in an impossible equation, as cultivable soils are gradually depleted, crop production levels must keep rising. Planting without ploughing One of the most effective remedies for land degradation is "conservation tillage" - a revolutionary cultivation technique in which the fields are not ploughed. In the early 1970s, farmers in North and South America started experimenting with conservation tillage and even "no-tillage". Weed control

International Biochar Initiative | International Biochar Initiative Soil An important factor influencing the productivity of our planet's various ecosystems is the nature of their soils. Soils are vital for the existence of many forms of life that have evolved on our planet. For example, soils provide vascular plants with a medium for growth and supply these organisms with most of their nutritional requirements. Figure 1: Most soils contain four basic components: mineral particles, water, air, and organic matter. Soil itself is very complex. Organic Activity A mass of mineral particles alone do not constitute a true soil. Humus is the biochemical substance that makes the upper layers of the soil become dark. It enhances a soil's ability to hold and store moisture. Organic activity is usually profuse in the near surface layers of a soil. Translocation When water moves downward into the soil, it causes both mechanical and chemical translocations of material. Soil Texture Clay is probably the most important type of mineral particle found in a soil. Soil pH

Alum (douple sulfate) Bulk alum Chemical properties[edit] Uses[edit] Industrial uses[edit] Alum has been used at least since Roman times for purification of drinking water[2] and industrial process water. Cosmetic[edit] Alum in block form (usually potassium alum) can be used as a blood coagulant.[5]Styptic pencils containing aluminium sulfate or potassium aluminium sulfate are used as astringents to prevent bleeding from small shaving cuts.Alum may be used in depilatory waxes used for the removal of body hair or applied to freshly waxed skin as a soothing agent.In the 1950s, men sporting crewcut or flattop hairstyles sometimes applied alum to their hair as an alternative to pomade[citation needed]. Culinary[edit] Flame retardant[edit] Solutions containing alum may be used to treat cloth, wood, and paper materials to increase their resistance to fire.Alum is also used in fire extinguishers to smother chemical and oil fires. Chemical flocculant[edit] Taxidermy[edit] Medicine[edit] Art[edit] History[edit] After M.H.

Parasitism Unlike predators, parasites typically do not kill their host, are generally much smaller than their host, and will often live in or on their host for an extended period. Both are special cases of consumer-resource interactions.[4] Parasites show a high degree of specialization, and reproduce at a faster rate than their hosts. Classic examples of parasitism include interactions between vertebrate hosts and tapeworms, flukes, the Plasmodium species, and fleas. Parasitism differs from the parasitoid relationship in that parasitoids generally kill their hosts.[5][6][7] Etymology[edit] Types[edit] Parasites are classified based on their interactions with their hosts and on their life cycles. Parasites that live on the outside of the host, either on the skin or the outgrowths of the skin, are called ectoparasites (e.g. lice, fleas, and some mites).[16] Those that live inside the host are called endoparasites (including all parasitic worms). An epiparasite is one that feeds on another parasite.

Haber process The Haber process, also called the Haber–Bosch process, is the industrial implementation of the reaction of nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas. It is the main industrial procedure to produce ammonia:[1] Nitrogen is a strong limiting mineral nutrient in plant growth. Carbon and oxygen are also critical, but are easily obtained by plants from soil and air. Fertilizer generated from ammonia produced by the Haber process is estimated to be responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth's population.[6] It is estimated that half of the protein within human beings is made of nitrogen that was originally fixed by this process; the remainder was produced by nitrogen fixing bacteria and archaea.[7] History[edit] Early in the twentieth century, several chemists tried to make ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen. The process[edit] Sources of hydrogen[edit] The major source is methane from natural gas. Reaction rate and equilibrium[edit] Economically, though, pressure is an expensive commodity.

Welcome to EarthActionMentor - Earth Action Mentor Soil Structure & Composition Sunday, 06 June 2010 07:35 The Plant Lady Living Matter Mostly in the top 4" of the soil. Good guys & bad guys...but large volume & diversity control the trouble makers by making it a competive environment for resources. 1 teaspoon of soil: 1 billion bacteria several yards of fungal hyphae several thousand protozoa few dozen nematodes Bacteria attracted by the root exudate (carbohydrates and proteins secreted from the plant roots). the numbers and kinds of bacteria that are attracted are controlled by the plant, depending on season and conditions most bacteria need carbon sources to live. bacteria use slime to stick to substrates and move around. this slime traps pathogens. this slime is also responsible for sticking soil particles together, giving soil its structure. vitmamins and antiobiotics are produced by some bacteria & fungi that help the plants bacteria also work in th ephyllosphere (leaf surface) Fungi fungal hyphae kill nematodes, which are after the plant roots Protozoa Nematodes earthworms

Ilmenite Crystal structure of ilmenite Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO 3). It crystallizes in the trigonal system. The ilmenite crystal structure is an ordered derivative of the corundum structure; in corundum all cations are identical but in ilmenite Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions occupy alternating layers perpendicular to the trigonal c axis. Distinguishing features[edit] Ilmenite is commonly recognized in altered igneous rocks by the presence of a white alteration product, the pseudo-mineral leucoxene. In reflected light it may be distinguished from magnetite by more pronounced reflection pleochroism and a brown-pink tinge. Ilmenite is weakly magnetic, with a weak response to a hand magnet. Mineral chemistry[edit] Ilmenite from Froland, Aust-Agder, Norway; 4.1 x 4.1 x 3.8 cm At higher temperatures it has been demonstrated there is a complete solid solution between ilmenite and hematite. Paragenesis[edit]

Mycelium Fungal mycelium Microscopic view of a mycelium. This image covers a one-millimeter square. Another microscopic view of a mycelium. Mycelium as seen under a log Is this the largest organism in the world? Through the mycelium a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment. Mycelium is vital in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material. "Mycelium", like "fungus", can be considered a mass noun, a word that can be either singular or plural. Sclerotia are compact or hard masses of mycelium. Uses[edit] One of the primary roles of fungi in an ecosystem is to decompose organic compounds. Mycelial mats have been suggested (see Paul Stamets) as having potential as biological filters, removing chemicals and microorganisms from soil and water. Knowledge of the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and plants suggests new ways to improve crop yields. See also[edit] References[edit] External links[edit]

Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio - Composting 101 All organic matter is made up of substantial amounts of carbon (C) combined with lesser amounts of nitrogen (N). The balance of these two elements in an organism is called the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio). For best performance, the compost pile, or more to the point the composting microorganisms, require the correct proportion of carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein production. Below are the average C:N ratios for some common organic materials found in the compost bin. Note: Many ingredients used for composting do not have the ideal ratio of 25-30:1. Many home gardeners prefer to put up with a slight odor and keep some excess nitrogen in the pile, just to make sure there is always enough around to keep the pile “cooking!”