How Soil Microbe Adapt to Different Climate

Soil microbes are an important part of the soil system and are present and diversified in all soils in the world. They can be specific to the area in which they are found and adapt to changing conditions. But do soil microbes adapt to different regions?

From the equator to the Arctic, life forms adapt to their specific climatic and regional conditions. Mangroves dominate the landscape in humid subtropical estuaries. They connect the worlds of salt and freshwater. In northern Canada and Russia, taiga evergreens endure extremely cold winters and long periods of near-total darkness. These differences are visible to us on the Earth’s surface, but what about microbes in the soil? Can millions of microbes in a teaspoon of soil be as specialized as the trees they live under?

If we focus on the soil communities, we see that there are really big differences between the microbes. These differences depend on whether communities come from different latitudes or even from different parts of a country.

Soil Microbes Adaptation

How Soil Microbes Adapt to Different Climate

A group of microbes called Rhizobia is one of the most important in natural soils as well as in agricultural systems. In certain situations, they can be adapted to different regions. They form a symbiotic relationship with different plants, especially legumes. Rhizobia helps these plants, like peas and beans, get the necessary nutrients.

Nitrogen in particular, and in this case most plants, need this nutrient to survive and grow. Instead, Rhizobia get a free home. By growing beans or other legumes, the plant “nurtures” carbohydrate-rich rhizobia, is an additional aspect of the symbiotic relationship.

Microbes form in the root system. They become lumpy structures called nodules. Microbes work this way in all climatic zones and regions. Should microbes be transferred to another region, can the process continue, or are rhizobia inactive? Therefore, the climatic adaptations of soil microbes vary by situation and location.

When rhizobia are active, their main function is to capture nitrogen from the air and turn it into a nutrient in the soil, which plants can use as members of the legume family. The result is nitrogen fixation.

For this reason, plants, such as beans and peas, require a small amount or no additional nitrogen fertilizer. Excess nitrogen can create beautiful foliage, but it limits or stops flowers. A plant-based partner with famous legumes is helpful because it aids in the use of nitrogen.

Can soil microbes adapt to different climates and different regions?

How Soil Microbes Adapt to Different Climate

The answer, at least for rhizobia bacteria, is yes. Microbes in some climatic zones and regions seem to adapt better to the stress of this climate. It allows them to survive and grow where others don’t.

Rhizobia (and other soil microorganisms) are also locally different and their “demographic profile” also changes within a farm. Soil microbes and their diversity remain a mystery even for soil scientists and microbiologists!


Microbes in the soil depend on the conditions in which they live. They stabilize naturally depending on the availability of food and nutrients. For the development of microorganisms, more organic substances must be available than soil bacteria can consume during the year. Since microbes are more active in the hot season, a warm climate will require more carbon than a cold one.

As soon as available organic matter is used up, microorganisms turn into food until the level of microorganisms in the soil becomes equal to the amount of food left. Without the addition of carbon before the addition of microbes, this can lead to an even smaller microbial population due to the higher levels of carbon that will be consumed.

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