Living, breathing soil
Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Breathing? Yes! When soils are inhabited by microorganisms (mostly bacteria and fungi) and have a balance of water, organic matter and minerals they end up exchanging gasses with the atmosphere. But let’s back up a few steps...
To start we need to describe two types of organic matter decomposition; aerobic and anaerobic.
Oxygen is the key to aerobic decomposition just like it is the key to our respiration - we are aerobic organisms.
Oxygen surrounds organic matter in the air or in water, and soil microorganisms make enzymes that use oxygen to break chemical bonds.
The last thing that a plant or animal can be broken into by aerobic bacteria is carbon dioxide. That means that soils take in oxygen, break down stuff, and then blow off CO2... Breathing!