The Functions and Benefits of Enzymes in Soil and Plant Health

THE BENEFITS of PLANT ENZYMES

 


 

Plant Enzymes, such as Dehydrogenase, Amylase, Urease, Asparaginase, Cellulase, Invertase, Phosphatase, Phytase, Protease, Saccharase, Xylanase, and numerous others, play a vital role in overall soil fertility and plant nutrition.  The world is slowly commencing to awaken to the importance of enzymes in the biological activity of the soil.  A plant, like humans and animal, need enzymes to prosper. While the enzymes present in soil bacteria help to supply this need, good soil also contains free enzymes.  It is known that the operation of microorganisms in the soil is very important to the growth of plants, and Enzymes are responsible for making the cellular energy required by all organisms.  They break down molecules, recycle the old parts and make new molecules that allow new cells to grow. 

 

Enzymes are catalysts, meaning they speed up the rate at which reactants interact to form products in a chemical reaction, while not being consumed in the reaction. They physically combine chemical reactants in a way that lowers the energy required for bonds to break and new bonds to form, making the formation of a product much faster. They lower what is called the activation energy of the reaction, or the amount of energy required for a hybrid of the reactants and products to form. The hybrid then becomes the product. Without enzymes, these chemical reactions would proceed at a rate that is hundreds to millions of times slower.

The cells that comprise organisms obtain energy by breaking down organic carbon compounds such as sugar, protein and fat.  Breaking these molecules down into smaller parts is called catabolism, while building new molecules from these recycled smaller parts is called anabolism. Enzymes perform these functions at every step of the way. Energy sources such as glucose, a simple sugar, store a lot of energy. But the cell cannot access that energy unless it is able to break the bonds within the glucose molecule,
which they do with the help of Enzymes.

 


ENZYMES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON BIOLOGIC ACTIVITY & SOIL FERTILITY


For over 125 million years, the earth has sustained itself by recycling organic, enzyme-rich substances.  As animals, insects, worms, micro- and other organisms consume plant matter, they also consume the enzymes of that plant matter, and rely on those enzymes for proper health, growth and development.

Synthetic, chemical, enzymeless fertilizers were developed about 50 or 60 years ago. These fertilizers often rely solely on N-P-K nutrients, ignoring the necessary interactions between all biological compounds of healthy plant cell growth and development.

Shortly, after the introduction  of and increased use of synthetic, chemical, enzymeless fertilizers, plants began weakening, could not hold their own, and began to be attacked and afflicted with numerous ailments which had been no real problem when natural, organic enzyme fertilizers were used.  Lower resistance to disease, damage, and stress have been among the consequences.

The chemical and synthetic enzymeless fertilizer substitutes weaken vegetables and other food plants, building up a hidden preclinical entity, a state of “disease” that is a prelude to disease.  Modern crops cannot stand on their own in the absence of  adequate supplies of enzymes.

This weak state of fruit, vegetable, and produce food can be a factor in many serious human diseases.  Though there is still much research to be done regarding vitamin synthesis in plants, vegetables, fruits, and other produce, several recent studies have shown vitamins are likely metabolized by a reaction involving enzymes.  Studies have shown decreasing levels of vitamins and other nutrients in produce grown today versus produce grown just 50 years ago.  Fewer enzymes, vitamins and minerals in produce means less nutrition available to humans and animals.  These substances are essential to healthy growth, development, and immunity support.

Adequate bacteria and fungal populations are essential in helping to break down organic matter.  These bacteria and fungi help produce enzymes, which assist in breaking down fallen leaves, bark, dead plant material, and other organic matter, freeing available nutrients (as in nitrogen-fixing), which the fungi & bacteria can then more easily digest and metabolize.  For example, the enzyme Phosphatase works to break down Phospate, which is a mineral, into simpler forms such as OrthoPhosphate.  Plants

can more easily absorb this OrthoPhosphate.  These bacteria and fungi do not and cannot feed on synthetic and chemical fertilizers, they require organic matter, utilizing the carbon for energy.  Fungi and molds are also responsible for synthesizing natural antibiotics, further protecting plants, and the animals and humans that eat them, from dangerous pathogens.



           

INTERACTIONS BETWEEN ENZYMES AND HUMIC SUBSTANCES


Plant energy metabolism is accelerated and the chlorophyll content of plant leaves is enhanced by the presence of humic substances. When Humic acids (HAs) and fulvic acids (FAs) are applied to plant leaves the chlorophyll content of those leaves increases. Activation of several biochemical processes results in an increase in enzyme synthesis, and an increase in the protein contents of the leaves. During these metabolic changes an increase in the concentration of several important enzymes is detected.
These enzymes activate the formation of both carrier and structural proteins.

Humic substances are a good source of energy for beneficial soil organisms. Humic substances and non humic (organic) compounds provide the energy and many of the mineral requirements for soil microorganisms and soil animals. Beneficial soil organisms lack the photosynthetic apparatus to capture energy from the sun thus must survive on residual carbon containing substances on or in the soil.  Energy stored within the carbon bonds functions to provide energy for various metabolic reactions within these organisms. Beneficial soil organisms (algae, yeasts, bacteria, fungi nematodes, mycorrhizae, and small animals) perform many beneficial functions which influence soil fertility and plant health. For example the bacteria release organic acids which aid in the solubility and bioavailability of mineral elements bound in soil. Bacteria also release complex polysaccharides  (sugar based compounds) that help create soil crumbs (aggregates). Soil crumbs give soil a desirable structure.

Other beneficial soil microorganisms such as the Actinomyces release antibiotics into the soil. These antibiotics are taken up by the plant to protect it against pests. Antibiotics also function to create desirable ecological balances of soil organisms on the root surface (rhizoplane) and in soil near the roots (rhizosphere). Fungi also perform many beneficial functions in soils. For example, mycorrhizae aid plant roots in the uptake of water and trace elements. Other fungi decompose crop residues and vegetative matter releasing bound nutrients for other organisms. Many of the organic compounds released by fungi aid in forming humus and soil crumbs. Beneficial soil animals create tunnel like channels in the soil. These channels allow the soil to breath, and exchange gases with the atmosphere. Soil animals also aid in the formation of humus, and help balance the concentration of soil microorganisms. A healthy fertile soil must contain sufficient carbon containing compounds to sustain the billions of microscopic life forms required for a fertile soil and a healthy plant.

A living soil is a fertile, healthy soil.

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