Soil Health Tests – Which One is Right For You?

As a soil health company, we are passionate about the soil microbe biome. But since the microbes are invisible to the naked eye … how do you measure them?

Soil Health and its measurement

There are a number of approaches. We are publishing a series of articles on the pros and cons of each.

This is a summary, of what we have written so far. When complete, we will add a box comparing these various tests.

Direct Observation by Microscopy

The Soil Food Web Institute, and Dr. Elaine Ingham, recommends direct observations via microscope. This type of test involves finding and counting the numbers and types of life in the soil sample.


A rapid assessment of bacteria and fungal presence, using a quick test and a smart phone

CO2 Respiration Test

Soil microbes assist in carbon sequestration a variety of ways, but while living they also breath – taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. The most widely available test is one which measures the life in the soil through microbial breathing.

More information to follow, culminating in a chart comparing these tests.

SymSoil is an evidence-based soil health company, with products and services to improve the profitability of growers. Our team has over 35 years of experience in soil health, and our experts at on-farm composting and technical solutions are Microbe Herders. These are the experts in soil biology. Our Soil Mavens can help you find products or put you in touch with the Microbe Herder with the right background and expertise to help you.

SymSoil is a leader in development of biological soil amendments for agriculture that restores the microbes that provide the right food to the plant roots, improving plant health, and making food more nutrient dense and flavorful, the way nature intended. SymSoil has products and services for growers using regenerative agriculture methodologies which improve profitability. Its flagship product, SymSoil® RC (Robust Compost) is a complex community of soil microbes, which includes in excess of 1,000 species, covering broad biodiversity of bacteria, fungi, amoebae, and other protozoa, beneficial nematodes and microarthropods. SymSoil was named one of 2019’s AgTech Companies to Watch. Accredited Investors can learn more about SymSoil as an impact investment here.

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