STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Compost bacteria, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). In the process of composting, microorganisms break down organic matter and produce carbon dioxide, water, heat, and humus, the relatively stable organic end product. Bacteria are the smallest living organisms and the most numerous in compost; they make up 80 to 90% of the billions of microorganisms typically found in a gram of compost. Bacteria are responsible for most of the decomposition and heat generation in compost. They are the most nutritionally diverse group of compost organisms, using a broad range of enzymes to chemically break down a variety of organic materials. Magnification: x2500 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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