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Soil bacteria are highly diverse and perform important functions in bioremediation, nitrogen-fixation, and decomposition which have been greatly impacted by human misuse. Soil contamination and the release of hazardous contaminants have posed a growing threat to human health and the ecosystem. Bioremediation and the development of new technologies have aided in solving this issue by reintroducing once populous bacteria into areas where they have been stripped of their microbial communities and by fostering the growth of organic material and oxygen. One important element that ensures soil diversity and health is the variety of role specific bacteria including those who fixate nitrogen.
Nitrogen is one of the most important elements when it comes to agricultural growth, and the balance of nitrogen in the environment has been greatly affected by human emissions.
This in turn has resulted in an imbalance of nutrients in the soil which is regulated by soil bacteria. It is through nutrient recycling that ecosystems survive, and organisms receive vital resources.
Nutrient recycling is done through the decomposition of growing amounts of human and environmental waste; microorganisms dictate this decomposition as well as link plants to the soil’s nutrient through the invasions of their roots. Soil bacterial are vital to the survival and prosperity of an ecosystem and, as the health of the environment declines without resolve, decomposition and recycling of important elements such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous become a growing problem.
As humans continue to consume natural resources without regard to microbial communities, the health of vital ecosystems are declining and, there has been a detrimental shift on nitrogen fixation and nutrient recycling within the soil.
As inorganic sulfate is stripped from the soil as a result of over cultivation, there is a depletion of nitrogen available to the vegetation which is affecting crop growth, suggesting that the complex community of bacteria deriving the soil ecosystem are crucial for the absorbance of nitrogen and in turn, the ecosystem’s survival. The amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere has more than doubled, resulting in an imbalance of phosphorous and nitrogen which has hindered plant’s ability, through microorganisms in its roots, to reasorb and conserve nutrients and has hindered the recycling of organic phosphorous and nitrogen to the soil.
It is though the characterization of bacterial species that one can identify the function and role it plays in the microbial community and infer about the soil composition. The purpose of this study was to isolate, characterize, and identify an unknown species of bacteria collected from soil in Flagstaff, Arizona. Morphological and physiological characteristics of an unknown species of soil bacteria were compared with characteristics of known bacterial species using Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. Through proper streaking and incubation techniques, the isolated bacteria were identified through prior knowledge of common genus and species characteristics.
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