Humification means the formation of humus. Humus is a black amorphous substance produced by the decomposition of dead and decaying organic matter by microorganisms.
Humification differs from mineralisation. In mineralisation, as the name implies, inorganic nutrients are recycled. Organic matter is further decomposed to form inorganic compounds.
In the process of humification, organic matters are transformed into organic polymers, which are stable and cannot be decomposed further by organisms and remain as humus.
Humification Process in Soil
Soil formation takes place by weathering of rocks, humification of plant remains and laterisation.
In the process of humification, humus is produced by the decomposition of plant twigs, wood, etc.
Humification affects soil quality, its colour and texture. Black or dark brown coloured soil is rich in humus. The water content of the soil is also dependent on humification. Humus helps in binding soil particles together. Humification maintains the optimum pH in the soil for the growth of microorganisms. It increases soil fertility and organic content of the soil.
- Plant remains are decomposed by continuous oxidation. Oxygen is added from groundwater
- Lignin and other organic substances present in the plant cells, fibres, etc. are converted to humus by microorganisms and fungi
- Cellulose and hemicellulose are readily decomposed to humus
- Depolymerisation of polysaccharides and complex carbohydrates occur
- Hemicellulose and other constituents of the cell wall are readily converted to glucose
- Degradation of lignin results in various carboxylic acid formation
- Peat formation depends on various climatic factors, e.g. temp, pH, etc.
- Humification process can be accelerated by vermicomposting
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