The organisms the occupy the decomposer level of a biome are essential to life on Earth. They break down dead plant and animal matter so the nutrient in them are recycled ago into the ecosystem come be used again.

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Fungi room the key decomposers in many ecosystems, specifically in forests. Among their main features is to assist release nitrogen and phosphorous native dead disk matter. They carry out this through a collection of specialized proteins and also enzymes in their cell walls and hyphae (root-like filaments). Fungi are particularly suited come penetrating large pieces the decaying matter like wood through their hyphae and also breaking the down through lignin-digesting enzymes. Bacteria are also crucial organisms at the decomposer level.

There are various other organisms in nature such together earthworms, part insects, sea cucumbers and also woodlice the also break down decaying material, however they should ingest it very first unlike fungi that usage chemical and also biological processes. These organisms are dubbed detritivores.

Fungi together decomposer

Roles of Decomposers and Detritivores

Food Chain

Organisms in this level that the food chain provide nutrients because that the producers (plants) who consequently are consumed by the consumers in the following level who space then consumed by tertiary consumers. Fungi release enzymes that malfunction dead essential matter and release it into the floor while earthworms excrete nutrient-rich waste the adds an ext vitality come the soil. The tunneling activity of earthworms likewise helps to rest up and aerate the soil.

Soil bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens are extensively affiliated at the decomposer level as well. Lock are an essential for the at an early stage stages the decomposition before fungi and also earthworms take it over. Bacteria not just feed top top dead leaves and also weeds however they also fix nitrogen in the soil so it is not shed to the air or water (see below).

Nutrient Cycling

Decomposers are associated in virtually every one of the nutrient cycles on the planet. The tree in the consumer level depend on decomposers to malfunction dead organic product to release the nutrients and also elements choose carbon, oxygen and phosphorus back into the soil. This along with energy indigenous the sun powers the process of photosynthesis in plants. As soon as organisms in the customer level eat the producers, castle extract the power from the food and also excrete waste the goes ago into the decomposers food chain. This is the continuous process that ingesting, excreting and also recycling the goes on in one ecosystem.

Nitrogen Fixation

Decomposer bacteria space responsible for addressing nitrogen in the soil, definition they transform nitrogen into a form that deserve to be offered by various other organisms in the food chain. Special, the bacteria take atmospheric nitrogen and also turn it right into molecules such together ammonia, nitrate and also nitrite which have the right to be provided by plants. In part plants prefer legumes, the bacterium Rizobium resides in nodules ~ above the root of the tree in a symbiotic relationship. In turn for providing them a place to live, the bacteria return the favor by addressing nitrogen because that the tree to use.

The image above shows nitrogen-fixing nodules ~ above the root of a legume plant.

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Ecosystem Maintenance

Decomposers are choose the housekeepers of one ecosystem. Without them, dead plants and also animals would store piling up with the nutrients the soil requirements trapped inside. Decomposers clean up the dead product by processing it and returning the nutrients to the floor for the producers. If the decomposer community is damaged or dies, the totality biogeochemical bicycle of an ecosystem is affected. Should this take place on a larger scale, the entire planet would certainly be in peril.


Batema, C. (Updated April 24, 2017). What role do decomposers play in a food chain? Retrieved native Decomposer. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 9, 2017, native