Characteristic soil smell?

Russ Bulluck lrbulluck at
Wed Sep 27 14:58:49 EST 2000

That would be Streptomyces and other actinomycetes. . .Russ

Kate Orman wrote:

> I hope you'll forgive this intrusion - I'm a science fiction writer and a
> former microbiology student, racking my brains to remember something one
> of my lecturers once said! Apparently there's a particular soil microbe
> which gives soil its characteristic smell. I'd like to mention it in a
> story I'm writing, but I can't remember the organism's name for the life
> of me, and my research hasn't turned it up. I'd be most grateful for any
> help!
> Cheers,
> --
> Kate Blum Orman <korman at>
> "I have no idea what that meant." - Dot Warner

Russ Bulluck
Visiting Post-Doctoral Scholar
Department of Plant Pathology
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA  95616
lrbulluck at
The soil population is so complex that it manifestly cannot
be dealt with as a whole with any detail by any one person,
and at the same time it plays so important a part in the soil
economy that it must be studied.
--Sir E. John Russell
The Micro-organisms of the Soil, 1923

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