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composting end products?

So I was explaining composting to some novice gardeners. Bacterial and fungal action break down vegetative material (proteins, amino acids, sugars, lipids, and starches), releasing heat, methane and carbon dioxide. The result is smaller molecular pieces of the original material, sometimes referred to as humus. But that end result is just a hydrocarbon. Why doesn't it keep breaking down? In principle, you should end up with just heat, CH4 and CO2 (as well as some water), and your pile should simply volatilize and disappear. What terminates the biological action? That is, when compost is "done", what makes it done? Obviously, heat kills a lot of the active cells responsible for the degradation, but once the pile cools, degradation could, in principle, just start up again. I have to assume that the humus produced by composting is somewhat undigestable by bacteria and fungi. But yes, humus DOES eventually degrade. So maybe the completion of composting is just where degradation slows down naturally. Would appreciate a pointer to some writeup that is specific about these questions. There are loads and loads of writeups about composting that aren't.

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