What is microBIOMETER®?
microBIOMETER® is a 20-minute on-site soil test to determine microbial biomass and fungal to bacterial ratio. This lab grade soil test is simple to perform with rapid results. It’s faster, less expensive and more accurate than sending your soil to labs because microbes start dying once they are removed from the earth.
How does microBIOMETER® work?
Soil microbes secrete a substance that binds non-living soil particles to each other and to themselves. Our patented method extracts the microbes from the bound soil particles which then settle to the bottom. The soil-colored microbes remain suspended in the fluid and are sampled. The sample is placed on a testcard which is scanned using a smartphone (iPhone or Android). Our smartphone application measures the color intensity of the microbes as compared to a color comparator surround on the testcard. Microbial biomass results are reported as µg of microbial carbon per gram of soil and fungal to bacterial ratio as F:B, F% and B%. Download and print instructions here – Soil and Compost Testing and Compost Tea and Extract Testing or watch our video tutorial here.
How did you validate the accuracy of the microBIOMETER® results?
The results were validated using a computerized analysis of numerous microscopic images of microBIOMETER® extracts from many different soils. We found a 95% correlation with the area of the microbes in these images and the results reported for microbial biomass and fungal to bacterial ratios using microBIOMETER®.
How do I interpret my microBIOMETER® test results?
We have collected and analyzed hundreds of microBIOMETER® testing results as well as worked with customers to create a chart of microbial biomass ranges that can be used as a guide to help you better understand your data. This chart will enable you to see where your results fall in relation to others using our test on similar media. Also included is a plant succession ladder which highlights optimal fungal to bacterial ratios for different vegetation.
Understanding Your Results.
What does microBIOMETER® tell us?
- The higher the microbial biomass, the more nutrients available to your plant naturally, decreasing or eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Microbes, especially fungi, are building soil structure which prevents erosion.
- If microbial biomass decreases after applying chemical fertilizer, you have used too much.
- Determining the F:B ratio in the soil of the rhizome will tell you if arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have colonized your plant making it more resistant to drought and pests.
- An increase in the F:B ratio indicates the green manure you used is optimal.
- Soil organic carbon is mainly the bodies of dead microbes, so if you are not increasing your microbes you are not building soil health or sequestering carbon.
- A rapid increase in MB indicates the effectiveness of cover crops and amendments.
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