Soil Microbiome Management

Study the Soil Microbiome

Soils are living environments. The microbes that exist in soils are critical to the health of a soil and it's ability to grow plants.

  • This course helps you better understand how biodiversity in a soil is key to keeping a soil healthy
  • In turn, a healthy, biodivers soil, is more capable of growing healthier, more productive plants.

Course Content

There are nine lessons as follows.

Lesson 1. Scope and Nature of the Soil Microbiome 

  • Nature of soil
  • Soil Structure & Texture
  • Soil Structure and Porosity
  • Soil Structure Research
  • Topsoil Thickness
  • Nutrient Components
  • Carbon and Nutrient Content
  • Carbon Retention
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulphur
  • Other Important Indicators of Soil Health
  • Acidity (pH)
  • Salinity
    Environmental Factors Affecting Soil Health
  • Drought
  • Frost
  • Erosion
  • Water Retention
  • Nature of soil Microbes
  • Bacteria 
  • Archaea
  • Viruses 
  • Fungi 
  • Protozoa
  • Scope of the Soil Microbiome
  • Plant-Microbe Relationships
  • Microbe Interrelationships
  • Changes to the Soil Microbiome
  • Key Definitions and Concepts for Understanding Soil

Lesson 2. Evaluating the Soil Microbiome Status

  • Measurement vs. Monitoring in Soil Biology
  • Things the Soil Microbiome can Help Measure or Monitor
  • Types of Soil Biological Testing and Analysis
  • Deciding on the Right Type of Test
  • Overview of Different Testing Types
  • Cotton Strip Assay
  • Microbial Activity Using Basal Carbon Dioxide Respiration
  • Microbial Biomass
  • Identification Through Culturing
  • Potentially Mineralisable Nitrogen
  • Biolog Plates
  • Microarrays
  • Community Profiling
  • More Advanced Approaches to the Microbiome: Omics
  • Transcriptomics
  • 16S rRNA
  • PCR
  • Bioinformatics

Lesson 3. Man’s impact on Microbiome 

  • Human Impact on Microbiomes
  • Land Development and Urbanisation 
  • Changes in Land Use and Microbial Communities
  • Problems with land development on soils
  • Climate Change
  • Pollution
  • Air Pollution
  • Deposition
  • Precipitation
  • Erosion
  • Microplastics 
  • Anti-microbials
  • Antibiotic Resistance
  • Monocultures 

Lesson 4. Soil Substrates and Additives 

  • Soil Substrates 
  • Inorganic Substrate Materials 
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Sand
  • Rockwool
  • Organic Substrate Materials
  • Peat 
  • Coir
  • Bark
  • Soilless Substrates and Microbes
  • Substrate Technology
  • Substrate Engineering
  • Substrate Evaluation
  • Novel Technologies used in Substrate Management
  • Tomography
  • Rhizometrics
  • Mini-Horhizotron
  • Rhizometer
  • Organic Additives
  • Manures
  • Compost
  • Fungal Additives

Lesson 5. Conventional vs Organic soil management

  • Conventional vs Organic Soil Management practices
  • Conventional Practices
  • Soil Carbon Modelling
  • Organic Practices
  • Composting
  • Crop Rotations
  • Cover Crops
  • No Tillage Farming
  • Organic Pest & Disease Control
  • Weed Control
  • Rotational Grazing
  • Livestock Management
  • Biodynamics 
  • Biodynamic preparations/sprays

Lesson 6. Soil Fertility Management 

  • Soil Management Strategies
  • Soil Organic Matter
  • Cover Crops
  • Cocktail Cover Crop 
  • Legume Crops
  • Longer Crop Rotations 
  • Reduced Tillage
  • Planting Trees 
  • ORGANIC Additives
  • Soil Humus
  • Building Soil Humus
  • Humates
  • Composting
  • Animal Manures
  • Microbial Inoculants
  • Use of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) Inoculants
  • Specific Inoculums 
  • Protozoa Tea
  • Earthworms
  • Inorganic Additives
  • Gypsum
  • Lime

Lesson 7. Plant Interactions with the Soil Microbiome

  • Soil Organisms
  • Function of Plant Microbiome
  • Effect of Non-native Species
  • Soil Microbiome and Plants
  • Plant-Soil Feedback
  • Plant-Microbe Associations 
  • Examples of Plant-Microbe Associations with Plant Families and Species 
  • Effects of Different Microbes
  • Cover Crops & Grapevines
  • Crop Rotations & Microbiomes
  • Types of Cover Crops & Microbiomes

Lesson 8. Pest & Disease Interaction with Soil Microbiome

  • Biopesticides
  • Advantages of Biopesticides
  • Biological Control Agents
  • Microbial Pesticides
  • Advantages of Microbial Insecticides
  • Entomopathogenic Fungi 
  • Protozoa
  • Bacteria
  • Engineering Microbial Inoculants to Suppress Disease

Lesson 9. Soil Regeneration Practices 

  • Restoring the Soil Microbiome
  • Practical Methods Which Benefit the Soil Microbiome
  • Reducing soil disturbance
  • No tillage (Zero Tillage)
  • Advantages of no till farming
  • Controlled Traffic Farming 
  • Advantages of Controlled Traffic Farming
  • Increasing crop diversity & ORGANIC matter
  • Alley Farming 
  • Cover Crops
  • Mulching & Composting
  • Biochar
  • Increasing soil microbes 
  • Microbial Inoculation
  • Plant Breeding and Microbiome Engineering

Course Duration   - 100 hours


Why Study this Course?

Learn techniques that you can apply in order to improve soils on a farm, in an urban landscape, or anywhere else.

Soil-based microorganisms have a direct and crucial role in the promotion of soil health, quality, and fertility. Soil fertility is not simply a consideration of soil nutrients, but it is determined by chemical, physical, and biological factors in the soil. It is a balance of soil components, structure, texture, pH, and microorganisms. We have a very good understanding of how chemical and physical factors influence soil fertility, but the impact of soil microorganisms (the biological factor) is less well understood. Furthermore, biological fertility is continuously changing in response to soil conditions. Besides their role in soil fertility, soil organisms are also involved in crucial nutrient cycling which helps to sustain plant life and ultimately all forms of life on earth. 

This course helps you to understand a variety of strategies that can be applied to improve the soil microbiome, including:

  • Adding Organic matter
  • Growing Cover crops or cocktail cover crops
  • Growing legumes
  • Longer crop rotations
  • Planting taller plants including trees
  • Reducing cultivation/soil disturbance
  • Adding humates,animal manures, compost
  • Microbial inoculants
  • Adding earthworms
  • Inorganic additives such as lime or gypsum 


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Fee Information (S3)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $878.90  1 x $799.00
B 2 x $475.20  2 x $432.00

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