What determines soil health? If you need to understand the factors that lead to a healthy soil microbiome, whether in plant production, farming or horticulture, this soil science course is ideal for you.
Certificate of Soil Microbiome Management is a professional development course that will provide the knowledge and skills required to understand the soil science that underpins a healthy microbiome.
In this soil microbiome course, you’ll learn about soil structure, texture, porosity, nutrition and the important indicators of soil health. You’ll also learn about soil fertility management and environmental, plant, human and pest and disease interaction and impact on soil microbiomes,
On completion of this course, you’ll have developed a comprehensive understanding of soil science as it relates to a healthy microbiome.
Unit - Soil Microbiome Management
Unit 1 – Nature and scope of the soil microbiome
Nature of soil
Soil structure & texture
Soil structure and porosity
Soil structure research
Carbon and nutrient content
Nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur
Other important indicators of soil health
Acidity (pH) and salinity
Environmental factors affecting soil health
Drought and frost
Erosion and water retention
Nature of soil microbes
Bacteria and archaea
Viruses and fungi
Scope of the soil microbiome
Changes to the soil microbiome
Definitions and concepts for understanding soil
Unit 2 – Analysing the soil microbiome status
Measurement vs. Monitoring in soil biology
Things the soil microbiome can help measure or monitor
Types of soil biological testing and analysis
Deciding on the right type of test
Overview of different testing types
Cotton strip assay
Microbial activity using basal carbon dioxide respiration
Identification through culturing
Potentially mineralisable nitrogen
More advanced approaches to the microbiome: omics
Unit 3 – Human impact on microbiomes
Land development and urbanisation
Changes in land use and microbial communities
Problems with land development on soils
Deposition and precipitation
Unit 4 – Soil substrates and additives
Inorganic substrate materials
Perlite and vermiculite
Sand and rockwool
Organic substrate materials
Peat, coir and bark
Soilless substrates and microbes
Novel technologies used in substrate management
Manures and compost
Unit 5 – Conventional vs organic soil management
Conventional vs organic soil management practices
Soil carbon modelling
No tillage farming
Organic pest & disease control
Unit 6 – Soil fertility management
Soil management strategies
Soil organic matter
Cocktail cover crop
Longer crop rotations
Building soil humus
Microbial inoculants & microorganisms
Use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculants
Gypsum and lime
Unit 7 – Plant interactions with a microbiome
Function of plant microbiome
Effect of non-native species
Soil microbiome and plants
Examples of plant-microbe associations (plant families & species)
Effects of different microbes
Cover crops & grapevines
Crop rotations & microbiomes
Types of cover crops & microbiomes
Unit 8 – Pest and disease interactions with a microbiome
Advantages of biopesticides
Biological control agents
Advantages of microbial insecticides
Engineering microbial inoculants to suppress disease
Unit 9 – Soil regeneration practices
Restoring the soil microbiome
Practical methods which benefit the soil microbiome
Reducing soil disturbance
No tillage (zero tillage)
Advantages of no till farming
Controlled traffic farming
Advantages of controlled traffic farming
Increasing crop diversity & organic matter
Mulching & composting
Increasing soil microbes
Plant breeding and microbiome engineering
Estimated duration 50 hours
Course Delivery and Start
Start anytime, self-paced and 100% online
Assessment will be comprised of written exercises, including short-answer questions, reflective tasks, short reports and/or projects. There are no examinations or due dates for assessment. As a result, you can complete training in your own time and at your own pace with the assistance of unlimited tutor support.
Why Choose Australian Online Courses?
Professional development that is widely recognised and respected;
Improve your employment opportunities;
Study online, anywhere via our elearning system;
High-quality professional development programs written by industry experts;
All course materials provided online – no textbooks to buy;
Unlimited tutor support;
We offer twelve (12) months’ access, with extensions available upon application (fees apply);
Course may be tax deductible; see your tax advisor.
Are there any entry requirements or pre-requisites?
There are no entry requirements or pre-requisites for entry into this program.
How long will it take to complete this course?
The approximate study hours for this course is 50 hours. We offer twelve (12) months’ access, with extensions available upon application (fees apply).
Can I purchase optional printed materials?
While printed materials are not available for purchase, PDF copies are available for download and self-printing for this program.
When can I start this course?
You can start within 60 minutes during business hours when you enrol and pay in full with a credit card!
Credit card: Within 60 mins during business hours.
BPAY: Within 1-2 working days.
Internet Banking: Within 1-2 working days.
Cheque/Money Order: Upon receipt of mailed cheque.
Will I receive a certificate upon completion of this course?
Yes! You will receive a Certificate of Attainment upon successful completion of your assessment.
Do I need to attend classes or undertake any work placements?
No. All courses are delivered online via our e-learning system and there are no work placement requirements in this course.
What support can I expect from Australian Online Courses?
Unlimited tutor support is available throughout your studies via email during business hours Monday to Friday. Our Administrative team are available Monday to Friday via email, live chat and telephone.
I am an international student. Can I enrol into this course?
Yes! We accept enrolments from individuals both within Australia and internationally; location is no barrier to entry into our programs.