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Role of decomposers in Biogeochemical cycles

Updated on March 14, 2016

cycles are all linked in an ecosystem.


Decomposers- fungi shown


information about the role of decomposers


To discuss the cycling of materials in the biosphere

Certain bacteria and fungi act as decomposers. The decomposers have an important role in the cycling of materials in the biosphere. This is because decomposers act on the dead bodies of plants and animals and convert the complex organic compounds present in them into original nutrient elements which go back into the nutrient pool. If there were no decomposers, then the elements which go back into the nutrient pool. If there were no decomposers, then he elements present in plant and animal biomass could not be completed.

In order to understand how elements (and compounds) became involved in cyclic changes, we shall consider the cycling of four common nutrients: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water, because these substances figure prominently in the living organisms. The most important point to be kept in mind while discussing the cycling of elements like carbon and nitrogen in the biosphere is that: each element being cycled into biosphere should be available in a usable form (by the plants). In other words, each chemical element being cycled should be in such a chemical form that it can be easily absorbed and assimilated by the plants.

For example- Carbon element should be in the form of carbon dioxide gas (CO2), which can be utilised by the plants in photosynthesis. If, however, carbon is in the elementary from like diamond or graphite, then it cannot be used by the plants at all. Similarly, the nitrogen element should be in the form of nitrate ions (NO3) which can be readily absorbed and utilised by the plants. If the element to be cycled in the biosphere is already not in a usable form, then it has to be first converted into a usable form in nature into the usable forms. The chemical fertilizers used in agriculture contain the nutrient elements in the usable form. Once the chemical element is absorbed from the nutrient pool of earth by the plants, it undergoes many conversions and is finally released back to the nutrient pool.

To discuss the cycling of materials in the biosphere, we should know the following points about the chemical elements being cycled:-

1) We should know the source of chemical element. That is, we should know whether the element is present in soil, water or air. 2) We should know the form of availability of chemical element. That is, we should know whether the element is available as pure element or in compound from. 3) We should know the forms in which the element is converted during cycling. That is, we should know the various substances which are formed by using this element during the various stages of cycling. 4) We should know the form in which the element is released back to the nutrient pool. That is, we should know weather the element is given back to the nutrient pool in the same chemical form in which it was originally taken or in a different chemical form.

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