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Unearthing the Role of Soil Microbes in Carbon Sequestration

# Title: Unearthing the Role of Soil Microbes in Carbon Seques


Soil, one of our planet's most underrated heroes, is critical in battling climate change. A comprehensive review by Mason et al., 2023, underscores the significant potential of soil microorganisms in soil carbon sequestration – the process by which CO2 is captured from the atmosphere and stored in the soil. This understanding could pave the way for sustainable land management practices and carbon management strategies, reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and mitigating climate change.

## The Unsung Heroes of Carbon Capture

Soil microorganisms account for a substantial contribution to soil carbon sequestration. They synthesize and store plant-derived carbon materials within their biomass and the residues they leave behind when they die, known as necromass. These contributions account for approximately 50 to 80% of the stable soil organic carbon (SOC).

## Key Players and Processes

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi stand out among the microbial community. Forming symbiotic relationships with plants, these fungi transform labile (easily decomposable) carbon into recalcitrant (more resistant) carbon pools. This process effectively sequesters carbon in the soil for a longer duration.

Soil aggregation, another key mechanism, aids in carbon sequestration. These clumps of soil particles protect the carbon within them from decomposition, fostering long-term storage. Additionally, soil microbes contribute to plant growth and resilience, leading to more photosynthesis, capturing more carbon from the atmosphere, and thus, increasing carbon input.

## Strategies for Enhanced Carbon Sequestration

Biochar and microbial inocula emerge as promising strategies to enhance soil carbon sequestration. Biochar, a charcoal that improves soil fertility, aids in storing carbon. Microbial inocula, introducing beneficial microbes into the soil, boost its health and carbon storage capabilities.

## Toward a Sustainable Future

The role of soil microbes in carbon sequestration is a game-changer in our fight against climate change. Future research will focus on understanding these mechanisms more deeply, exploring ways to manipulate microbial communities for maximum soil carbon storage, and devising practical applications for farmers and land managers.

In pursuing sustainable agricultural practices, we cannot overlook the importance of soil microbiomes. By harnessing the power of these minute life forms, we can create a greener, more sustainable future for all.

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