Characteristic soil smell?

Colin Davidson c.davidson at
Wed Sep 27 14:59:39 EST 2000

"Kate Orman" <korman at> wrote in message
news:8qpidi$30l$1 at
> 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!

The soil smell comes mostly from the actinomycetes, the most common genera
of which are Streptomyces, Streptoverticillium, Actinomyces and Nocardia.
Don't -think- I've missed any really common ones.

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