That smell—known as petrichor—stems from microscopic streptomycete bacteria in the soil that produce a compound called geosmin, The Times reports.

What causes soil to smell?

Smell of soil is due to the smell of two small molecules produced by small organisms. These small molecules are known as geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB). These compounds are mostly produced by bacteria belonging to the genus Streptomyces.

Why does wet soil smell good?

The smell is caused by soil-dwelling bacteria known as Actinomycetes, which thrive in the soil when conditions are wet and warm. When the soil dries up, these organisms produce tiny spores that release a chemical compound called geosmin (meaning “earth smell” in Greek).

What causes the soil to smell during the first rain after summer?

Just before the rain, as the soils become damp, actinomycetes start to awake and create a byproduct called geosmin which contributes to the “earthy smell.” Actinomycetes play an important role in soils by improving the soil nutrients and promoting the growth of plants.

What is the scent of wet soil?


That mysterious scent has been called “petrichor”, and a main component of it is an organic compound called geosmin, which lingers around moist soil. Geosmin comes from the ancient Greek “geo”, meaning earth, and “osme”, meaning smell.

Is it normal for soil to smell?

Smell really does tell you a lot about the soil.” According to Northern Illinois University, that fresh smell is a chemical byproduct of a small organism that indicates healthy, productive soil. Soil that smells rotten, like ammonia, is an indicator of bad drainage or lack of oxygen, as stated by the USDA.

How do I stop my soil from smelling?

Smelly soil can be fixed by adding soil amendments such as perlite and vermiculite to the mix in order to increase the aeration and drainage properties of the soil. When added, soil amendments would increase the air spaces between soil to soil particles while providing a pathway for water to drain freely.

Which bacteria is responsible for smell after rain?

That luscious smell we can detect after rain comes from an organic compound called geosmin, which is produced by microbes, including the bacteria genus Streptomyces. We also know that Streptomyces releases geosmin when they die, and that humans and other creatures are particularly attuned to it.

Why does the first rain smell?

Complete Answer: The earthy fragrance formed when rain falls on dry soil is technically termed as petrichor. Petrichor is usually caused due to the secretion of oils by few plants, the formation of the geosmin chemical by Actinomycetes bacteria, ozone, and also our higher sensitivity of nose to the scent of petrichor.

Is the smell of rain ozone?

The rain smell’s actual name is petrichor, coined by two Australian scientists in the 1960s. Have you ever wondered about what causes the distinct smells you detect in the air before, during and after a rainfall? Scientists say it’s a combination of ozone, petrichor and geosmin.

How do you get rid of sewer smell in soil?

Liberally sprinkle garden lime until the affected area is covered in white dust. If sewage is thicker in certain areas, mix in lime with a rake or a spade. Let lime-covered areas stand for 24 hours. Once dry, shovel sewage-contaminated lime into doubled, heavy-duty trash bags.

What does acidic soil smell like?

Smell can tell you if the soil is too sour (it will smell sour due to a low pH), which can be confirmed by a soil pH test.

What does baking soda do to soil?

Baking soda is alkaline and adding it to soil will reduce the acidity of soil. This less acidic soil produces less acidic tomatoes, which taste sweeter.

What does moldy soil smell like?

The short answer to this question is yes, mold does have a distinct odor. The best way to describe the scent is “musty” or “earthy.” Some individuals even compare it to the smell of sweaty socks.

What does healthy soil smell like?

Healthy soils have a distinctive, earthy odor due to Actinobacteria and other beneficial microbes. Actinobacteria are present in a healthy soil and produce geosmin, which in turn produces a distinctive odor. Unhealthy soils often have a sour or metallic smell.

How do I know if I have mold in my soil?

White mold has a white fuzzy or woolly appearance on your soil, similar to the type you found on rotten food. Green mold appears as powdery shades of green. Black mold can be identified as black sooty-looking or dark green patches on your soil and around the base of the plant.