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Term (Latin for soil) for the entirety of the almost exclusively dead organic matter of a soil, which makes up the vast majority of the soil organic matter (OBS or SOM = Soil Organic Matter). However, about 5% of the OBS also consists of living organic matter, i.e. all living animal (such as woodlice, mites, caterpillars, earthworms, snails and spiders) and plant (such as algae, lichens and mosses) organisms, as well as microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi). One teaspoon of humus contains 100 million bacteria, 60 kilometres of fungal threads and 1,000 threadworms. The living part of the OBS is also called Edaphon (grch. edaphos = soil).

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