These molecules are passed along the food chains.
When plants and animals die, the complex biological molecules are decomposed.
Dead organisms are broken down into smaller pieces by the process of decay. Organisms such as earthworms are involved in this process.
Decomposition is the process by which bacteria and fungi break dead organisms into their simple compounds.
Plants can absorb and use these compounds again, completing the cycle.
Decomposing bacteria and fungi are described as saprophytic because of the way they break down dead organic matter.
Saprophytic nutrition involves:
Humus is the organic content of the soil formed from decomposing plants and animals.
Decomposition happens quickly when:
Anaerobic conditions (little/no oxygen available - for example, waterlogged soil) cause the rate of decomposition to decrease.