20. Comparison of Bacterial Species Richness in Organic vs. Conventional Farms

Ashley Sherrard Midway University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Cynthia Ryder Midway University, Elizabeth Danks Midway University
In the current study, soil bacterial composition was compared in soils from two different methods of farming: organic and conventional. Generally, organic farming limits the use of chemicals and conventional farming uses more chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The use of chemicals in a conventional farm also allows food to be transported without spoilage during the process. The environmental conditions that are improved through organic farming include air and water quality, by not using the chemicals that conventional farmers use, and a decrease in climate change by increasing the return of carbon to the soil. The soil contains various living organisms, including fungi and bacteria, which influence the soil’s fertility and plant growth. The purpose of this study was to identify a difference in the soil bacterial richness in organic vegetable farms compared to conventional vegetable farms in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Results showed that both types of farms shared some of the same bacteria but there was more species richness in conventional farms than in organic. The common species of bacteria found in both organic and conventional vegetable farms were Lactobacillus plantraum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Citrobacter freundii, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These bacteria function together for plant growth and soil fertility by changing the nutrients in the soil as well as using root exudation, which regulated the rhizosphere interaction allowing for a regulation in the microbial community.
Sustainability, Urban Ecology & Environmental Studies
Poster Presentation