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. Soil consists of a solid phase (minerals & organic matter) as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water. Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three-state system. Overview 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 In 1856 J. Curtis F.
• plant communication