Mark Frauenfelder at 10:14 am Mon, Nov 26, 2007
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
Amy Stewart says: "A scientist at the University of Illinois received a cup of compost from a friend; he put it under the microscope and created a very cool composite image of all the creatures living in that one cup of decay."
A retired farmer shook his head as recalled
the rich’feel’ of the soil on his granpa’s land
& observed that when his dad began using synthetic fertilizers [sic]
& years later as he continued, the Soil was transformed into just Dirt…lifeless dust.
The bacteria and protozoa (a) are not naked-eye visible; the scale bar is 50um. The nematodes and smaller enchytraeids (b) are barely naked-eye visible.
The amount of bacteria alone in soil is absolutely staggering- there are about 10^9 (1000000000) bacterial cells in every gram. Not sure how many species this represents…
I have been a fan of composting since my early teens. Now that I am a grown up I try and compost something at least once a day. I often shave my beard into our “Dirt Machine” compost bin. This summer cant wait to try this experiment with flickr documentation and everything!
Who knew? Critters in compost?!? I guess that’s cool that 14 distinct organisms were found though. My guess in one cup of compost would’ve been maybe 4-5 critters.
It’s awesome how all these organisms cohabitate in compost and do their jobs.
And now I have one more reason to buy more garden gloves. Yeeeeuccccch!
Lots more than fourteen, I’m sure; but the rest aren’t naked-eye visible.
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