6. Natural Resources
Decomposition of Organic Matter and Subsequent Humification and Mineralization
Decomposition of Organic Matter and Subsequent Humification and Mineralization :
It involves stepwise degradation of organic materials by bacteria and fungi of decay and subsequent humification and mineralization. Dead remains of plants and animals are called detritus. The decomposition involves stepwise degradation of detritus. The process of decomposition of detritus is vital in any ecosystem because it involves release of the nutrients from the dead organic matter. Without this process, all the nutrients would remain locked in the dead remains of plants and animals and will not be available for recreation of living matter.
Humification : It is the process by which simplified detritus (partially decomposed organic mater) gets converted into dark coloured amorphous substance called humus in the soil. Humus is the reservoir of nutrients.
Mineralization : It is the process which results in the release of inorganic substances such as CO2, H2O and nutrients (e.g., NH4+, Ca++, Mg++, K+ etc.) in the soil.
Humus binds the weathered rock particles into aggregate called crumbs. The latter absorb water and hold air in spaces.
Detritivores such as nematodes, earthworms, centipedes, millipedes, mites and ants consume organic matter and add excretory nitrogen to it. It is, thus, the final step in the formation of soil.
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