Pedogenesis, or the formation of soil, takes decades along with a
combination of parent geological material, natural biota, distinct climate, and
topography. Soil, which hosts rich functional biodiversity ranging from microbes to
higher plants, provides nutrients, anchorage for roots, holds water, and buffers against
pollutants. After going through this chapter, readers will be able to appreciate how
nature takes care of the nutritional requirements of its dwellers, how these nutrients, in
turn, get transformed following the life-death cycle, and the infallible role that soil
microbes play in this process. We aim to describe how the enormous but biounavailable nutrient sources, both in the atmosphere (nitrogen) and the earth’s crust
(phosphorus, iron, etc.), are made accessible to plants in a multi-step mechanism.
Curiosity and concern among mankind have provoked a wide range of scientific
developments. Nevertheless, exploitative anthropogenic activities have degraded this
vital life-supporting component. All kinds of pollutants and unsustainable agricultural
practices over time have deposited harmful and toxic chemicals in the soil, the negative
effects of which are being deliberated lately. Soil microbes hold promise in remediating
these xenobiotic compounds and providing economically feasible and ecologically safe
solutions. In the final section, we provide a brief overview of the ability of microbes to
utilize a range of substrates that can prove detrimental to both modern infrastructure
and archaeological artifacts.
Keywords: Bioaugmentation, Carbon cycle, Nitrogen fixation, Wood rotting, Wood staining.