There are other problems and constraints that have been major obstacles to controlling the microflora of agricultural soils. First and foremost is the large number of types of microorganisms that are present at any one time, their wide range of physiological capabilities, and the dramatic fluctuations in their populations that can result from man’s cultural and management practices applied to a particular farming system. The diversity of the total soil microflora depends on the nature of the soil environment and those factors which affect the growth and activity of each individual organism including temperature, light, aeration, nutrients, organic matter, pH and water. While there are many microorganisms that respond favorably to these factors, or a combination thereof, there are some that do not. Microbiologists have actually studied relatively few of the microorganisms that exist in most agricultural soils, mainly because we don’t know how to culture them; i.e.,we know very little about their growth, nutritional, and ecological requirements.
The diversity and population factors associated with the soil microflora have discouraged scientists from conducting research to develop control strategies. Many believe that, even when beneficial microorganisms are cultured and inoculated into soils, their number is relatively small compared with the indigenous soil inhabitants, and they would likely be rapidly overwhelmed by the established soil microflora. Consequently, many would argue that even if the application of beneficial microorganisms is successful under limited conditions (e.g., in the laboratory) it would be virtually impossible to achieve the same success under actual field conditions. Such thinking still exists today, and serves as a principle constraint to the concept of controlling the soil microflora.
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