Decomposition is The breakdown of complex organic compounds of dead bodies of plants and animals into simpler inorganic compounds. The process is a part of the nutrient cycle and is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biosphere
A decomposers is an organisms that carrying out decomposition
Decomposers include bacteria and fungi, earthworm and some parasites.
Process of decomposition
Decomposition is physical as well as chemical in nature and consists of the following processes:
- Catabolism: Catabolism is the process of breaking down of complex molecules into the simpler molecules.
- leaching: water soluble substances are leached to deeper layers of soil.
- If decomposition leads to the formation of colloidal organic matter, the process is called humification. It cannot be decomposed easily as it is highly resistant action by microbes. It serves as a reservoir of nutrients.
- Mineralisation: formation of simpler inorganic substances is termed mineralisation.
- Fragmentation: It is the process of breaking of detritus into small pieces by the detrivores. Due to fragmentation, the surface area of the detritus particles is greatly increased.
Factors affecting decomposition
- The rate of decomposition is dependent on many factors like Aeration, soil pH, moisture, chemical nature of detritus, temperature etc.
- Aeration: It is required for the activity of decomposers and detrivores. A reduced aeration will slow down the process of decomposition.
- Soil pH: Typically, acidic soils are dominated by fungal communities, whereas natural soils provide conditions in which bacteria have a competitive advantage. Detrivores are abundant in natural and slightly alkaline soils while decomposers microbes are rich in natural and slightly acidic soil.
- Moisture: moisture is a major limiting factor on land. An optimum moisture helps in Quiker decomposition. reduction in moisture reduces the rate of decomposition as in areas of prolonged dryness like tropical deserts where otherwise the temperature is quite high. Soil moisture can be seen as plant-available water.
- Chemical nature of detritus: when detritus nitrogen rich them very fast role of decomposition of occurs. It is Rapid if detritus processes more of Nitrogenous compounds like proteins, nucleic acids and reserve carbohydrates.
- Temperature: temperature affects the physiology of living things as well as the density and state of water. Under low temperature condition of soils, the rate of decomposition is very slow even if moisture and aeration are optimum. because of it, completely composition of detritus take several years or even tickets.