Microbial biomass

Microbial biomass is the total number of microorganisms (sum of the number of bacteria, fungi and protozoa). This sum of all PLFAs is an indication of the amount of microbes. Because PLFAs are rapidly degraded after an organism dies, it mainly represents the living microbial biomass. The microbial biomass is an indicator of the general disease suppression. The more microorganisms there are, the more competition there is with pathogens for space and food. The microbial biomass can be increased by adding effective organic matter such as compost, solid manure, green manures or cultivating grains (incl. straw). Other examples of measures are reduced soil tillage, permanently covering the soil, temporary grassland or less ploughing up of permanent grassland.