How many bacteria are in my heap?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012  |  HOTBIN Composting

A few grams (e.g. a teaspoon) of compost is estimated to contain up to a billion bacteria cells.

Although it does vary - it is often quoted that a million bacteria can fit on a pin head....

No-one really knows how many different types of composting bacteria there are and only a tiny fraction have been classified.

A couple of interesting bacteria facts for you:

  • Mesophilic bacteria (those which grow best between 20 and 45°C) can reproduce every 15 minutes. Doubling at each reproduction (1/2/4/8/16), a population of 8 billion bacteria could be created in 13 hours.
  • In the same 13 hours, one actinomycetes will become two.

(It's pretty impressive compared to humans at 9 months!)