Q:

What are some examples of decomposers?

A:

Quick Answer

Decomposers include certain types of bacteria, worms, slugs, snails and fungi. All of these organisms break down or eat dead or decomposing organisms to help carry out the process of decomposition. They are the last step in the food chain, which recycles nutrients and breaks down wastes and organic matter in the ecosystem.

Know More
What are some examples of decomposers?
Credit: David Hoshor CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Decomposers are known as heterotrophs because they eat organic substrates to obtain carbon, energy and other nutrients to grow and thrive. Decomposers break down the organic substrates via biochemical reactions that convert the substrates into metabolically useful products. This removes the need for internal digestive organs in decomposers. For this reason, most decomposers are bacteria and fungi. Bacteria are widespread and can break down a myriad of organic matter. Typically 1 gram of soil contains around 40 million bacterial cells that can break down organic molecules in the soil, which in turn produce more soil. Fungi primarily decompose litter and work it into the ecosystem, while worms, slugs and snails decompose fruits and vegetables. Bacteria, fungi and other decomposers help recycle many nutrients in nutrient cycles such as the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the iron cycle and the sulfur cycle.

Scavengers are sometimes considered decomposers. While consuming dead animals or plants, they break them into small pieces, which aids the process of decomposition.

Learn more about Organic Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some examples of organic chemicals?

    A:

    An organic chemical is any molecule with at least one carbon atom forming its base, and a few examples of organic molecules include living matter such as the DNA of plants and animals, nonliving naturally occuring matter such as methane, fossil fuels and diamonds, and man-made materials such as carbon fiber.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are examples of organic materials?

    A:

    Examples of organic materials include wood, paper, textiles and animal parts. Organic materials are any type of materials that are found in nature or are made out of items that are found in nature. Organic materials are composed solely of organic compounds. These compounds contain the element carbon, which is widely found in nature in plants and animals. Organic materials naturally deteriorate over time, according to Preservation 101.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are examples of prosthetic groups?

    A:

    There are many different types of prosthetic groups, including biotin, pyridoxal phosphate, thiamin pyrophosphate, flavin nucleotides and heme. Metallic ions, such as magnesium, copper, iron and zinc, are some of the most common prosthetic groups.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are examples of ocean decomposers?

    A:

    Most of the decomposers in the ocean, at every trophic level, can be described as either animals or microbes. Animal decomposers live as scavengers, usually on the sea floor, and microbial decomposers, such as bacteria, can be found on nearly every surface or floating freely in the water.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore