We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Actinomycetes?

By Debra Durkee
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Actinomycetes are a group of bacteria that live mainly in the soil. Clusters of actinomycetes form long, thin filaments in the soil, and have an important role in the environmental carbon cycle. A hardy group of bacteria, they are particularly adept at surviving harsh conditions and breaking down tough substances in the soil, returning their components back down to the most basic structures.

Found both in and on the soil, actinomycetes grow in a way similar to fungi. They reproduce via spores, which are round bodies that develop a single strand. From this strand the bacterial body begins to first curl at the tip, and then to divide into segments within the strand. The walls of the strand thicken as the partitions divide, and once these partitions mature the strand is ready to produce more spores to continue the division.

When dirt and soil are freshly dug, they release a distinct, earthy smell. Most bacteria in the dirt break substances down to their base compounds, but actinomycetes are responsible for the decomposition of some of the toughest of these substances. Cellulose is found in the walls of plant cells, and chitin serves a similar purpose in the cell walls of fungi. There aren't many bacteria that can break down these difficult substances, but actinomycetes are able to under even the harshest of conditions.

The actinomycetes are particularly important in areas where there is a lot of decaying plant matter, such as forests and grasslands. Without their ability to participate in the decay of plant and fungi, nutrients from these dead organisms would not be restored to the soil for living plants to absorb and use. Activated by high pH levels, a change in the soil's nutrient levels can deactivate the recycling processes of these organisms and drastically impact the soil ecosystem. When the soil contains a low pH level, not only are actinomycetes inactive but other soil decomposers, fungi, is activated. With this shift, soil conditions change and can become favorable for a new set of plants, such as unwanted weeds and invasive species.

It is not uncommon for colonies of these bacteria to grow around certain plants, particularly species like the cliffrose and bitterbrush. The plant and the bacteria can form a symbiotic relationship, where the actinomycetes feed on the decaying parts of the plant and convert nitrogen back into a form that is usable by the plant.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.