che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis | \ ˌkē-mō-ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio) \

Definition of chemosynthesis

: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions

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Other Words from chemosynthesis

chemosynthetic \ ˌkē-​mō-​sin-​ˈthe-​tik How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio) \ adjective

Examples of chemosynthesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Analysis showed that these organisms were performing chemosynthesis – creating energy from chemicals in the seawater, in complete darkness. Suzanne Oconnell, The Conversation, 22 June 2021 Unlike surface life, which requires the sun’s light to survive, these life forms lived off the chemical energy in these super-hot toxic plumes—a process called chemosynthesis. James Nestor, Scientific American, 12 Feb. 2018 Researchers realized that there are microbes that, instead of using light to grow, use chemicals from the rocks at hydrothermal vents in a process called chemosynthesis. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Aug. 2019 These chimney-like structures allow tube worms, clams, mussels, and other organisms to survive not via photosynthesis but chemosynthesis, in which microbes convert chemicals released by the vents into energy. Paul Chesley, National Geographic, 21 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chemosynthesis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chemosynthesis

1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chemosynthesis

chemo- + synthesis, after German Chemosynthese

Note: The German term was probably introduced by the botanist and plant physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer (1845-1920) in Pflanzenphysiologie: Ein Handbuch der Lehre von Stoffwechsel und Kraftwechsel in der Pflanze, 2. völlig umgearbeitete Auflage, 1. Band (1897), p. 273.

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Time Traveler for chemosynthesis

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The first known use of chemosynthesis was in 1900

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chemosynthesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for chemosynthesis


che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis | \ -ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio) \
plural chemosyntheses

Medical Definition of chemosynthesis

: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions

Other Words from chemosynthesis

chemosynthetic \ -​sin-​ˈthet-​ik How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio) \ adjective

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