One of the most noted microscopic soil organisms is bacteria. These single-celled microscopic organisms are abundant in soil and exist in a wide array of classifications. There are countless other varieties of microscopic soil organisms, however, including viruses, algae, and fungi. Potozoa and nematodes are also among soil organisms. Creatures that you can see with your naked eye, including mites, ants, earthworms, and slugs are also soil organisms.
Microscopic soil organisms may include single-celled or multi-celled microbes. Most of these organisms cannot be seen without the use of a microscope. Viruses, for example, are some of the smallest organisms of all and an only be viewed with the use of an electron microscope. Most microscopes used in schools are not sufficient for viewing viruses.
There are many varieties of bacteria, however, that can typically be viewed with an ordinary high-powered optical microscope. For the casual hobbyist or student, many forms of bacteria can be viewed at 400x power. In soil that contains high contents of richly organic matter that may supply nutrients, bacteria will thrive and generally be abundant.
Many forms of bacteria are essential to garden soil and, subsequently, to plant life. Some of these bacteria-rich soil products can be made into a compost soil. This matter can be beneficial to growing plants and vegetables. There are some forms of soil bacteria, however, that are detrimental to plant and animal life.
Algae is a type of soil microflora. They consist of a matter called chlorophyll, which allows the algae to perform photosynthesis. This means they can use energy from sunlight to release oxygen, which is essential to all life. Algae exists in green, yellow-green, and the diatom varieties. Diatoms are soil life known as a classification of phytoplankton. Scientists and microbiologists believe that more than 100,000 species of diatoms exist.
Although many people recognize ants as a type of pest, these creatures are in fact a type of soil organism. These organisms can help enrich the soil through the crucial dissection of certain organic matter. Huge colonies of ants, however, can become harmful to certain plants and must be controlled to maintain plant life quality.
Soil organisms known as nematodes are multicellular roundworms that are in great abundance in garden soil. They generally feed on many species of bacteria. The parasitic variety of these soil organisms can be hazardous to the health of humans, and detrimental to plant life as well. There has been talk of using nematodes as a type of insecticide for our ecological system. At present, this work is still in the planning stages by researchers.