Is it bad to have bacteria in soil?

In celebration of the International Year of Soil 2015 (IYS), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout the year to educate the public about the importance of soil. July’s theme is “Soils Are Living”. In SSSA’s July 15 Soils Matter blog post, experts explain the positive role soil bacteria play in our daily lives.

According to Mary Stromberger, soil scientist with Colorado State University, “There are millions of different types of microbes that live in the soil. Organisms that cause diseases reside in soils. But, those “bad” bacteria live amongst the good bacteria, fungi and other animal life in the soil—which is called biodiversity. This variety of life in soil helps keep things balanced. Thus, most of the time, soil microbes are beneficial to the environment, rather than being a threat.”

Soil bacteria are necessary for soil health. The convert naturally occurring chemicals—like nitrogen from the air—into food that plants can use. They help to recycle chemical elements from decomposing plants and animals. Ultimately, those nutrients get into our diets in the form vegetables and fruits. So, when you are enjoying your lunch, be thankful to the hard-working soil bacteria that work hard for your health!

To read the entire blog post, visit

As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. July’s Soils Are Living video can be viewed at Educational materials can be viewed at