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 rapidly degrade after an organism dies, it mainly represents the living microbial biomass. The microbial biomass is also an indicator of 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.
Carbon in microbial/bacterial/fungal biomass
Microbial biomass is an important indicator of soil health. Carbon in microbial biomass (mg C kg -1) is calculated from total microbial biomass (mg PLFA per kg). Carbon in microbial biomass is a measurement that is used often used in other measurements and studies. Carbon in microbial, bacterial and fungal biomass is shown on the report so that this parameter can be compared to other studies.