How Rotting Works: Organic Farming
Composting critters employ one of two basic methods of decomposition to break down all that debris in your compost pile — chemical or physical. The processes of chemical and physical decomposition are described in the following sections. I also explain how all these composters interact in your compost community.
Going to pieces: The physical breakup
Soil invertebrates (creatures lacking backbones) are an amazingly diverse community charged with the endless task of physically reducing mountains of organic refuse to smaller and smaller bits. Depending on species, they attack their work with mouthparts designed for chewing, biting, rasping, shredding, or grinding plant matter.
These varied chomping efforts reduce larger pieces of organic matter into smaller ones with more surface area, which in turn enables bacteria and the other chemical decomposers to gain a foothold and work more effectively.
Physical decomposers act in the early stages of your compost pile, but as bacterial activity heats up and the temperatures rise, they depart (or die). When temperatures drop back down, you’ll notice all sorts of life and movement as physical decomposers return to the pile to continue their work.
Freeing the nutrients: The chemical breakdown
During your compost pile’s process of chemical decomposition, microbes such as bacteria and fungi release enzymes that break down complex organic compounds into simpler compounds, which these decomposers can then absorb into their bodies as nutrients.
Other organisms obtain nutrients by eating the microbes. And as microbes die, the compounds tied up in their bodies are released and become available for another generation of organisms to use. No matter how efficiently they work, microbes and other decomposers ultimately reach a point where some substances can’t be broken down any further. These byproducts of decomposition become linked together to form humus, that most desirable, crumbly, dark brown end result of composting. Source Gardening Guide.
Published: Zarai Media Team