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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

A Painting by Evelyn M.

Microbes are the first living organism to have arose on Earth, providing the biological foundation for Earth’s massive biodiversity. In addition, they have also evolved alongside their complex (Eukaryotic) counterparts, forming a strong symbiotic relationship spanning for hundreds of millions of years. My painting, for one, depicts the biological reliance that microbes and plants have between one another. The right side of my painting visualizes a heightened and flourishing soil microdiversity in correspondence to an increase in plant diversity. However, on the left side, the scarcity of plant diversity manifests from the lack of surrounding soil microbes. Thus, the difference between these two environmental dynamics imply that cultivating (or maintaining) a large microdiversity with the respective complex organism(s) benefits the health/livelihood of both cellular life forms. Plants and microbes share chemistries with one another; different plants will varying exude root extract compounds for microbes to metabolize, while the microbes help maintain nitrogen levels in the soil for plant development (Gupta et al, 2022). Unfortunately, modern agricultural practices harm and deplete environmental conditions that affect soil microdiversity. If agricultural methods were to switch over and focus on microbial conservation, soil microorganisms would have the potential to provide natural alternatives to disease and pest control in comparison to toxic pesticides and chemically inorganic fertilizers (Gupta et al, 2022). Larger ranges of microbial species allow for soil environments to undergo natural, ideal conditions for relative plant species, meaning that plant health can also be a reflection of larger microdiversity and vice versa.

Gupta A, Singh UB, Sahu PK, Paul S, Kumar A, Malviya D, Singh S, Kuppusamy P, Singh P, 

Paul D, Rai JP, Singh HV, Manna MC, Crusberg TC, Kumar A, Saxena AK. Linking Soil Microbial Diversity to Modern Agriculture Practices: A Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 7;19(5):3141. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19053141. PMID: 35270832; PMCID: PMC8910389.


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