Nutrient Cycling. This is the process by which beneficial microorganisms harvest nutrients from soil organic matter and also from the ‘parent material’. Rocks, pebbles, sand particles, silts and clays are all considered ‘parent material’. On a molecular level, they comprise crystalline structures that are not easily broken down. These structures contain atoms of iron, boron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium etc. Plants are not capable of directly accessing the nutrients in these structures.
Bacteria and fungi, however, produce enzymes that break-down these structures, thus releasing the nutrients they contain. The bacteria and fungi readily absorb these nutrients, which are later made available to plant roots when bacterial and fungal predators consume their prey and subsequently excrete their waste. It is this waste material that plants absorb – a nutrient dense liquid food source that can be absorbed directly into the plant root.