Identifying Organisms



These People that have taken the Microscope class with Dr. Ingham, have practiced using their microscope, shared photos with Dr. Ingham, discussed their findings with Dr. Ingham, and are confidant that they can help other people identify organisms, are listed here.

Practice is al important in maintaining skills and developing knowledge further. we will develop a wider and wider base of knowledge as more people encounter all the myriad of organisms that exist in soil. Which in turns leads to a better understanding of what exactly is in different soils, in different climates, and with different organic matter and plants.

The listings below give the person’s name, their location, e-mail contact.

The idea is that you will find the person closest to you, contact them, bring or send your samples to them for assessment of total bacterial biomass, total fungal biomass, numbers of the different active protozoa, and numbers of the different functional groups of nematodes. With a little more development, we hope to also perform active endo-mycorrhizal colonization of roots.

For people who would like to have their names on this list, so their services can also be offered to clients, please contact: Dr. Elaine R. Ingham, or by Skype, elaine.ingham in Corvallis, OR.


Living Soils Lab: Maharashi University of Management: 1000 North Fourth Street, Fairfield, Iowa 52556,, 720-876-7652

Living Soil Compost Lab: Denver, Colorado,, 303-999-5935, Microherber’s Manifesto, $30 per sample

Regenerative Soil Lab Services: 2200 South Palm Grove Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90016,, 323-378-0055.

Harrington’s Organic Landcare Lab Services: 70 Highland Park Drive, Bloomfield, CT 06002,, Office Phone: 860-243-8733 x 11, Fax: 860-882-0271

About Harrington’s Organic Landcare Lab Services

Our laboratory opened in 2007 to serve as both a research and soil testing facility. Our state-of-the-art equipment enables us to research and evaluate the efficacy of new products, provide in-house quality control, and learn more about how microbes affect soil fertility and plant health. Our lab performs soil chemistry and soil biology testing. This proactive approach helps us to understand just what your soil requires, both chemical and biological, allowing us to custom design a program based on your regional soil type(s).

Basic Chemistry Test

Includes organic matter & soil moisture content, pH, cation exchange capacity, % base saturation, electrical conductivity
Nutrients: nitrate nitrogen, sulfur, boron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium

Basic Plus Test

Includes all Basic Test analyses plus trace minerals: iron, copper, zinc, manganese

Complete Chemistry Test

Includes all analyses in Basic and Basic Plus. Comparison of Melich 1 and Melich 3 extractable nutrients informs us of the total amount of nutrients available in the soil versus the amount of nutrients which are readily plant-available.

Qualitative Package

Determines the presence or absence of microbes (bacteria, fungi, ciliates, amoebae, and flagellates) and rates them from Not Present to Very High Levels. Also includes E.coli, pH, electrical conductivity, and percent organic matter. While specific recommendations cannot be determined from this assay, it will give you a general overview of what is present/absent from your soil, compost, or compost tea.

Basic Foodweb (done by SFWNY)

Quantifies the biomass ratios of total/active bacteria and total/active fungi. This test provides us the information to develop a basic program to adjust bacterial and fungal imbalances. Active bacteria/fungi are those that are currently cycling nutrients; total bacteria/fungi include active and dormant microbes.

Complete Foodweb (done by SFWNY)

Quantifies total and active bacteria, total and active fungi, and presence/absence of protozoa. Eventually we will also offer nematode identification. Nematodes are a large group of tiny worms that can either benefit plants or cause disease. A diverse array of nematodes is a good indicator of healthy soils.

Complete Foodweb + Mycorrhizae (done by SFWNY)

This test is available for soil samples only, not for compost or compost tea. It includes all assays in the Complete Foodweb plus mycorrhizal colonization. This test determines what percentage of the plant roots are colonized and can also detect signs of disease or other damage.

**All Soil Chemistry Tests include interpretations and recommendations of organic products. Ammonium and nitrogen values can also be measured at an additional cost.

The methodology for analyzing soil health based on identifying and quantifying soil micro-organisms was developed by Dr. Elaine Ingham. After 30+ years of studying and improving soils, she and Soil Foodweb Inc. have identified optimal soil microbe ratios for compost, compost teas, crops, landscape plants, trees, and shrubs. Soil, compost, and compost tea samples sent here to our lab will be analyzed for microbial diversity and compared with optimal ranges. Interpretations of test data can be included or excluded. If you want organic product recommendations based on a biological soil test, a phone consultation will need to be scheduled with one of our staff members.

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