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Is soil an organic or inorganic substance? Explain with two reasons.

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pitabasa007 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:24 AM via web

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Is soil an organic or inorganic substance? Explain with two reasons.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:55 AM (Answer #2)

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Soil contains both organic and inorganic substances that support the  plants in the process of growing and provide the necessary nutrients to preserve the health of the plants.

The organic substances present in soil contain carbon, while the carbon is absent from inorganic substances.

Both forms of the organic matter are present in soil. The dead matter consists of old roots of plants, fallen leaves, while living organic matter consists of microorganisms that helps in disintegrating of compounds to deliver the useful nutrients for plants.

The minerals that are found in soil are also classified as inorganic matter because of the absence of carbon atoms in their structure.

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dwickliffe | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM (Answer #1)

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The question of whether soil is organic or inorganic could be answered many ways, depending on your perspective. 

First, speaking from a purely chemical point of view, it contains both organic (C, O, H and N) atoms and inorganic (P, Mg, Fe, Se, etc...) atoms in various combinations of compounds.  It's creation  and recylcling requires living substance so most will say it is organic substance (You know when your mom says or said, "Don't put it in your mouth" or "Wash your hands before you eat"- there is living stuff in that dirt you've been playing in that can make you sick)

However, if you look at it from an evolutionary perspective ("Which came first?") you might need to think of it differently. 

To create life, organic materials (elements and compounds) have to be present.  The creation of soil requires living things (bacteria, fungus, plants, animals and protists).  So , which came first, the life or the soil?  How could plants grow without soil and how could soil be made without plants?  How could animals be alive if plants weren't producing oxygen for them to breath?  This question can be answered by scientists with various theories.  Or it can be answered by various religious beliefs.  That may be for you to decide when you have evaluated both sides.

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