Build a Better Cycle: Minerals, Carbon, Biology

on March 31, 2022

Minerals, Carbon, and Biology: these are three contributors to soil health that build a cycle of health and success both in your soil and your field. The carbon-biological cycle is a system where nutrients are cycled and exchanged between plants and soil microbes. This cycle feeds microbes, makes nutrients available to plants, and builds soil carbon. The relationship between microbes and plants is fueled by the production of organic carbon by beneficial bacteria, but why should minerals be incorporated as a part of the cycle?

Agriculture requires a lot of labor to maintain. Oftentimes, fertility and nutrients are added when farmers can apply them, not when plants need them. Over time, this can lead to decreased yields, loss of nutrient density, and even increased costs from applying more inputs. This can quickly become expensive, as your crops can’t get the full benefit of the fertility and nutrition that’s being applied. Putting minerals, carbon, and biology, into a cycle can help to create an environment where nutrients are held in the soil when they’re applied, and made available to plants when needed.

The carbon-biological cycle is an important function of your soil microbes, and it brings a host of benefits to both your overall soil health, and your crops. However, most of those benefits come from only three functions of the cycle.

The first function of the carbon-biological cycle is to immobilize the inputs that you apply. Immobilizing an input means that the mineral, nutrient, or fertilizer that you apply is held within the soil. Inputs that are immobilized will not leech away, and are stored in the soil and held until made available. This process can both help you reduce the amount spent on fertility inputs, and can decrease your environmental impact through reduced leeching into waterways.

Because nutrients are held in the soil, they can be more easily processed, and made more available for your crops. This gives crops the ability to consume nutrients as they need it, contributing to an increase in nutrient density.
This active availability contributes to healthier and more diverse microbes, which are incredibly important when minerals are introduced to the carbon-biological cycle. Adding minerals allows for the production of metabolites, which act as a catalyst for cation exchange and nutrient uptake.

Carbon is a critical part of this cycle, as it is the most important element on earth; carbon is the building block for all life. In order for plants to grow, there needs to be an abundance of consumable carbon in the soil. Biology is the conduit through which carbon is consumed by plants, and plays an equally important role in this cycle of consuming and producing nutrients. This is where CX-1 comes into play. Though carbon and biology work together to drive this cycle, healthy plants wouldn’t grow without other key nutrients, such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. If you use fertilizer in your fields, you recognize these elements from the NPK of your fertilizer. However, there are even more minerals within an agricultural system that plants need to be able to grow strong. A wide array of minerals is important when talking about improving nutrient density, because a diversity of minerals creates a diversity of metabolites. Balancing different minerals is crucial when considering what metabolites you are trying to produce. A microbe will touch every input you utilize in this system, which means that to make diverse minerals available in your carbon-biological system, you need diverse biology.

Purple Cow CX-1 is a concentrated, broad-spectrum, liquid biological that can be paired with a liquid or granular fertility system to help build the carbon-biological cycle within your own soil.

To learn more about how you can use CX-1 to support your soil’s health, contact us at